KIRK ministers are set to play a key role in helping to solve the thorny issue of Brexit.

The Church of Scotland has offered to facilitate key talks with hard-to-reach rural communities as fears build over the impact of leaving the European Union.

It has asked the Scottish Government to pay up to £3,000 in travel costs to allow its representatives to hold consultations focused on fishing and coastal issues.

It comes as documents outline a feared £42 million hit to Scotland's fishing industry as an immediate consequence of leaving the EU single market.

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Scottish Brexit minister Michael Russell met with the Kirk's church and society council earlier this year.

It offered to "facilitate Scottish Government Brexit-related consultations with rural communities", using the Kirk's network of ministers and churches.

Referencing similar events in the run-up to 2014's independence referendum, church leaders proposed three consultations on the west coast, east coast and Orkney.

Locals and community representatives would be invited to discuss a range of issues - with the results then fed back to the Scottish Government.

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In a briefing to Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, Andrew Brown of Marine Scotland recommended the three pilot meetings go ahead.

He said: "Following the events both we and the Church of Scotland will assess the success of this format of consultation.

"It may indeed provide a cost effective means of gathering data from hard-to-reach rural and coastal communities in the future."

The meetings have yet to take place, but the Scottish Government confirmed talks were ongoing with the Kirk.

A Church of Scotland spokesman described the plans as "a listening and reporting-back exercise".

It comes after Ruth Davidson and Michael Gove joined forces to call for the UK to take full control of its fishing waters after Brexit.

The Scottish Tory leader and UK Environment Secretary backed efforts to ensure the UK leaves the controversial common fisheries policy.

Scottish Government papers detail widespread concerns over the impact of leaving the EU, which represents Scotland's most significant seafood market.

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Mr Ewing said: "The UK Government's position will result in a situation where the UK could be forced to apply the rules of the common fisheries policy after Brexit but would have no influence at all over fish quotas or access to Scottish waters."

Meanwhile, Downing Street insisted efforts to break a Brexit deadlock over devolved powers will continue this week.

The UK Government is tabling amendments to its Brexit bill to ensure the "vast majority" of devolved powers currently held in Brussels are transferred to Scotland.

But the Scottish and Welsh governments claim the move represents a "power-grab" and have demanded all powers are returned on exiting the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Welsh counterpart Carwyn Jones tomorrow.