WESTMINSTER has been accused of showing “contempt for Scotland" after suggesting it would only allow MSPs to view controversial Brexit analysis in a guarded room for a 12-hour time period.

UK Brexit minister Robin Walker gave MSPs less than 24 hours’ notice regarding the arrangements, which come as many Scottish politicians prepare for parliamentary recess.

In a letter sent to the Scottish Parliament's Presiding Officer Ken Macintosh, dated February 7, Mr Walker said MSPs would be able to view the documents during working hours on Thursday and Friday at the Scotland Office on Melville Crescent in Edinburgh.

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But MSPs said they only received the letter at 1pm – meaning they had already lost half a day’s viewing time.

The Scotland Office later insisted it had “made clear” that the Brexit documents would be available to view from Thursday onwards via appointment, despite Mr Walker’s letter only referencing four three-hour time slots.

Only eight MSPs will be allowed to examine the papers at any one time, with “at least one” UK Government official present throughout. MSPs also need to make an appointment in advance.

The Brexit analysis, which was previously leaked, shows Scotland is forecast to lose at least £15 billion in growth if no Brussels deal is agreed.

Mr Walker wrote: “Members will be issued a visitor’s pass and be escorted to the reading room by a UK Government official.

“When members enter the reading room, they will be required to sign in and indicate their acceptance of the rules of the reading room.

“There will be at least one UK Government official in the reading room at all times.”

His letter adds: “In keeping with the arrangements for previous reading rooms under this and previous governments, no mobile phones or other electronic or recording devices will be permitted in the reading room.

“Members will be able to write notes which can be taken away when they leave. It will not be possible to remove any of the documents from the reading room to photograph, scan or copy in any way.

“Any unauthorised disclosure of the documents or information contained within them is strictly prohibited."

Joan McAlpine MSP, who posted the letter to social media, said it showed “total contempt” for the Scottish Parliament.

She added: “They think a last minute invite to view the analysis they denied existed – at the other side of town, while parliament is sitting – is good enough. Well it isn’t.”

Scottish Labour's Brexit spokesman Neil Findlay said: "This is an absolute nonsense, and takes no consideration of MSPs who have constituencies far from Edinburgh - or indeed the fact that Holyrood is sitting at those times on a Thursday. This is the shambolic Tory approach to Brexit summed up."

Greens external affairs spokesman Ross Greer MSP insisted “the Tories’ contempt for Scotland knows no bounds”.

He added: “They’ve chosen to make this information available to MSPs for just 12 hours over two days with no prior notice – two days in which we have committees, debates and constituency business.

“Given the massive economic damage this analysis predicts, it's no surprise they're making it as difficult as possible for us to know any more than what has already been leaked.

“It’s like the planning application from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - in the cellar, with no lights or stairs and at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet in a disused toilet behind a sign saying Beware Of The Leopard. Except this isn’t fiction.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We wanted to give MSPs the opportunity to view the document before recess.

"That’s why, in the letters to the Presiding Officers, we made clear that the reading rooms would be open from Thursday 8 February.

"If MSPs would like to return to review the document at any point (including after recess) they would be very welcome to do so.”