Nicola Sturgeon has insisted her government would ensure trade keeps “flowing easily” across the border with England in the event that Scotland becomes independent and re-enters the EU.
The first minister told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show that she would put in place “arrangements” to keep trade flowing between the two countries in such circumstances.
Ms Sturgeon admitted the SNP had not yet carried out any modelling on the impact of independence on people’s income but pledged to put that information before voters to allow them to make an “informed choice” before a second independence referendum.
However, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross accused the SNP of being “clueless” about the economic impact of independence.
Under repeated questioning on how an open border could be maintained between an independent Scotland in the EU and the rest of the UK, given EU rules, Ms Sturgeon said she will “work with others to make sure we keep trade flowing easily across the border between Scotland and England”.
The first minister told the BBC she was “not denying what EU regulations say” in respect to the physical checks required for certain animals and goods entering the EU.
She added: “I am not denying that because of the absurdity of Brexit and the Tory Brexit obsession then all sorts of issues are raised for Scotland completely against our democratic will.
“We would work as a country to make sure that for our businesses, there was no difficulties in terms of their day to day experience in trading.
“Right now we are being denied access on that free trade basis to a market that is seven times bigger than the UK market and I want Scotland to be able to trade freely across that and to do the work that takes away the practical difficulties for trade across the England-Scotland border.”
She added: “Nobody with any credibility suggests that an independent Scotland wouldn’t continue to be a member of the common travel area so free movement of people across the UK and if we were in the EU across the EU would be guaranteed.
The first minister said her party would present the Scottish people with economic modelling before a second independendence referendum, including “all the up to date financial economic information”.
She added: “We will put that information before people when we get to the point of asking people to make a choice.”
However, Mr Ross claimed a “post-referendum border” would be a “hammer blow” for Scottish businesses and put “hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk”.
He added: “By Nicola Sturgeon’s own admission, the SNP are clueless about the economic impact of independence.
“They’ve done no analysis on how many jobs it would put at risk or how much damage could be done to Scotland’s economy.
“She floundered and didn’t have a single convincing answer to dispel the overwhelming evidence that separating Scotland from the rest of the UK would be devastating for jobs and businesses.”
Commenting on the interview, Shadow Scotland Secretary Ian Murray claimed it was “reckless beyond imagining” to call for a referendum during the recovery.
The Labour MP added: “Hearing the casual way in which Nicola Sturgeon dimisses those independent experts that she is so fond of quoting when they agree with her and her failure to answer any of the tough questions on separation – from effects on income to the border – is playing fast and loose with people’s future.
“Scotland deserves better than this.”