SCOTLAND’s Brexit Minister Michael Russell has urged the UK Government and Labour to be honest about their claims of a “frictionless” trade agreement with the EU after its chief negotiator made clear such a deal is not possible outside of the single market.

Mike Russell made the call after Michel Barnier told an EU committee in Brussels it will not be possible for Britain to enjoy all the benefits of the single market with its former EU partners once it has left the bloc.

Barnier warned there will be “negative” consequences to Brexit, which result from the UK’s decision to vote Leave in last year’s referendum but not from any attempt by the EU to “punish” the UK.

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He said it appeared that some of those on the UK side have still not understood the EU’s position and believe that they can hold onto the benefits of the single market while giving up membership.

Barnier said that Brexit would create a “loser/loser situation” for both the EU and UK, which would be worsened if the two sides failed to reach a deal — with the UK having “more to lose” than the remaining 27 states. There was “no reasonable justification” for Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal, he said.

His warning came as both the Tory government and Labour party have both claimed the UK should get tariff-free access to the single market despite not wanting to be members of either the single market or the customs union.

“Barnier has clearly set out to burst the Tories ideological bubble,” said Russell, responding to Barnier’s comments.

“I am all for being ambitious in negotiations but it is time for the Tories and Labour to be honest with the public and business about the path they are determined to pursue.

“These comments from Barnier make abundantly clear that this concept of “frictionless” trade outside of the single market and the customs union is simply a figment of Tory and Labour imaginations.”

Barnier’s comments represent a stark rejection of the negotiating position set out by Prime Minister Theresa May, who has said she wants trade with the remaining EU to be “as frictionless as possible” and that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, and Brexit Secretary David Davis, who has said he hopes a new trade deal will deliver the “exact same benefits” as single market membership.

Speaking to the European Economic and Social Committee, Barnier said that Brussels had made clear to the UK that the EU’s “four freedoms” — including freedom of movement —are indivisible, that there can be no sector-by-sector participation in the single market and that the EU will maintain full sovereignty over its own rules and regulations.

“These three points were already made very clear by the European Council and European Parliament, but I am not sure whether they have been fully understood across the Channel,” said Barnier.

“I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and keep all of its benefits. That is not possible.

“I have heard some people in the UK argue that one can leave the single market and build a customs union to achieve frictionless trade. That is not possible.

“The decision to leave the EU has consequences and I have to explain to citizens, businesses and civil society on both sides of the Channel what those consequences mean for them.

“These consequences are the direct result of the choice made by the UK, not by the EU. There is no punishment for Brexit and of course no spirit of revenge. But Brexit has a cost, also for business in the EU27, and businesses should assess with lucidity the negative consequences of the UK choice on trade and investment and prepare to manage that.”

Downing Street said the Government did understand the EU’s position and was focused on “getting a deal that works for both sides” but acknowledged there were “strong feelings” in Brussels about the result of the Brexit referendum.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We have set out the relationship that we seek in the white paper and Lancaster House speech.

“We want a comprehensive free trade agreement and a new customs agreement which allows for trade which is as frictionless as possible... the most frictionless possible trade between the UK and the EU is clearly in the interests of both sides.”