Nicola Sturgeon vows to protect #scotland as she meets with the EU's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, in the midst of worsening Brexit tensions.

Today's meeting comes as Mr Barnier prepares for the second round of negotiations with the UK Government next Monday. A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said she is trying to build a consensus against a 'hard' Brexit.

Meanwhile, Mr Barnier has warned the UK that discussions with the EU could fail after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's remarks that Brussels should 'go whistle' if they expected Britain to pay a hefty divorce bill to quit the trading bloc. He informed a press conference that he could not hear a whistle, just a clock ticking.

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'He is willing to listen to different points of view.'

The EU's Chief Negotiator reiterated that he is willing to listen to different points of view in the British debate on #Brexit. He also called for more clarity regarding the UK's divorce bill, which could total £100 billion.

Ms Sturgeon's spokesman said she would be demanding that the EU considers the option of a 'soft' Brexit, which would result in the UK retaining Single Market membership.

Since David Davis was appointed to the position of Brexit Secretary last year, he has consistently consulted the devolved administrations on what they want the British Government to achieve during the discussions. But Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected the SNP's calls for Britain to retain its Single Market membership, insisting the UK will be leaving both the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).

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'Leaving the EU can be cancelled.'

The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, Alistair Carmicheal, has urged Ms Sturgeon to advocate that leaving the EU can be cancelled via a second referendum.

The First Secretary of State, Damian Green, reaffirmed the Government's position during Prime Minister's Questions yesterday. He said that there is still a chance of failing to reach a deal if negotiations continue to stumble. Mr Green substituted the Prime Minister in the House of Commons during PMQs while Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, replaced Mr Corbyn for the day.

Ms Thornberry called on the Government to get a grip, as a full EU departure is less than 20 months away. She said it would be very difficult for the Prime Minister to walk away from negotiations given that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has expressed serious doubts over the Tories' Brexit strategy.

Mr Green reiterated that it is the Government's priority to ensure Britain leaves the EU with a trade agreement, but that no deal is better than a punishment deal.

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He added that the Office for Budget Responsibility would be publishing a report on Thursday which outlines the financial consequences of trading under World Trade Organization rules, which many businesses fear will hinder the economy.

'A case of settling accounts.'

Mr Davis is yet to prepare a statement in response to Mr Barnier's demands that the UK agree on a divorce settlement before talks on trade commence. He stressed that he wants to build a relationship of trust with the British Government based on trade and security by agreeing on the three significant obstacles of the bill, EU citizens and the Irish border first.

Questioned in the House of Commons on Tuesday about the divorce settlement, Mr Johnson said the sums Brussels suggested are extortionate. Mr Barnier responded by saying the bill is not a ransom or punishment, just a case of settling accounts. He warned the UK has a legal duty to pay its financial obligations.

Money is not the only barrier threatening to derail the second round of discussions on Monday. The European Parliament's Brexit coordinator, Guy Verhofstadt, said that Members of the European Parliament could have the final say over the UK Government's offer to EU citizens.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also warned that the UK cannot trade with the EU, unless it accepts the trading bloc's four freedoms of capital, movement, goods and services. #European Union