Fears that Brexit could deliver a blow to the economy which the country does not recover from have been raised by the S cottish Tory leader.
Ministers failed to prepare voters for the uncertainty that negotiations over quitting the European Union would unleash, Ruth Davidson said.
The ardent remain campaigner conceded Brexit ” is going to happen” but said she was concerned there would be a short-term economic hit and “we don’t bounce back from it”.
In an interview with the New Statesman, Ms Davidson said: “I think one of the things the UK Government didn’t do that they should have done was pitch-roll this: remind the British public that when it comes to European negotiations – and we’ve had several decades of them – we are told no until five past midnight and then suddenly a deal gets done in the wee small hours of the morning.
“I don’t think the country was prepared for this period that we’re currently in.
“People in a room talking and then walking out and up to a bank of microphones and saying entirely different things while standing next to each other is part of what negotiation is.
“I think the UK Government has not just an obligation but a duty to negotiate as hard as they can on behalf of the country.”
Asked what her greatest concern was about Brexit, she replied: “My real fear is that if there’s a short-term economic hit, we don’t bounce back from it.”
Despite the criticism of the Westminster government, Ms Davidson hailed Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to public service.
“She’s absolutely straight down the line,” Ms Davidson said. “She’s not a game player. And the kind of cliches that you hear about her, about her believing in service and public duty, are absolutely true.
“Everything that she said about being there for the long-haul as long as the party and the country want her – she will get up and she will put in a shift.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “What we are working hard on is making sure we deliver the smoothest possible Brexit that delivers certainty for business and we get a trade deal that works for Britain and the European Union, and we are confident of doing so.”