SCOTTISH Brexit secretary Michael Russell has accused the Tories of offering the country an “utterly false choice” over Brexit.

The SNP minister said it was wrong to suggest that the only options available were Theresa May’s Chequers plan, or a no-deal hard Brexit. He insisted there was still time for the UK to remain in the single market and the customs union.

Russell’s remarks follow comments made last by week by Jackson Carlaw, when he said the SNP had to choose between warring Tory factions.

Carlaw, who is to deputise for Ruth Davidson during her maternity leave, tweeted: “Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP need to decide whether they will back the PM’s Brexit deal or walk through the division lobbies with Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson.”

Speaking ahead of a statement on Brexit in Holyrood this afternoon, Russell said: “The Tories want to force people to choose between the disaster of a hard Brexit outside the Single Market and the catastrophe of a No Deal Brexit.

“That is an utterly false choice – and no one should be fooled into thinking that that makes Chequers in any way acceptable.

“We will continue to make the case, vigorously, for membership of the European Single Market – which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone – and Customs Union.

“The fact that the Tories are now warning people about stockpiling of medical supplies, and potential disruption to food imports and exports shows just how serious the situation has become – indeed, their irresponsible, cack-handed approach is risking disruption on a scale unprecedented in modern times.

“The Tories should stop putting their party ahead of the country, end their civil war and rule out a No-deal outcome immediately.

“The UK Government are behaving as if no deal is inevitable – it is emphatically not. But the Scottish Government will continue to do the responsible thing by making sure we have plans in place just in case we face that worst case scenario. There is another way. Continued membership of the European Single Market and Customs Union is essential for our economy, society and people.”

Scottish Tory constitution spokesman Adam Tomkins hit back at Russell, accusing him of “game playing.”

“As with everything the SNP says and does around Brexit, this is nothing to do with the wellbeing of Scotland’s people or economy after we leave the EU,” he said.

“Mike Russell’s words are aimed at stoking division in the hope it pushes up support for Scottish independence. It’s a shameless, narrow-minded tactic which the SNP has already paid the price for in elections.

“Scots are fed up with this game-playing, and would rather the SNP government got on and tried to make a success of Brexit.”