SCOTTISH Brexit secretary Michael Russell has demanded Theresa May apologise after her government was caught “pleading with the EU to do nothing to help Scotland.”

Notes that were leaked to a national newspaper earlier this week revealed that officials in Brussels had been briefed by Whitehall to find a solutionto the Irish border in a way “that it is not applicable for Scotland.”

READ MORE: Mike Russell – May's unionism is leading us to a harmful Brexit

The Scottish Government has long said any deal which allows Northern Ireland to effectively remain in the single market – which the EU says is the only way for the North to remain in the UK, and the Republic to remain in Europe without a hard border – must also be available to Scotland.

Last December, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “If one part of UK can retain regulatory alignment with EU and effectively stay in the single market (which is the right solution for Northern Ireland) there is surely no good practical reason why others can’t.”

Writing exclusively in today’s Sunday National, Russell says he will be “demanding an explanation and an apology for the double dealing.”

May’s reluctance to move on her Chequers plan in any way led to her being roundly humiliated by European leaders in last week’s summit in Salzburg. The Prime Minister insisted the set of proposals would allow the UK to maintain frictionless trade with Europe, permit free trade deals around the world, and, crucially avoid a hard border in Ireland.

But the EU made clear that Chequers would undermine the single market. Yesterday, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt seemed to hint that the UK could now seek a simple, Canada-style free trade agreement – favoured by many Brexiteer Tory MPs.

“We have been very clear we are prepared to negotiate on the Chequers proposal. But we can’t talk to a void,” Hunt said.

The Foreign Secretary’s comments were attacked by former diplomat Lord Ricketts, who tweeted: “Reality: EU said at outset options were broadly Norway-style ass’n or Canada-style FTA + waited 15 months for a response. Finally UK produced Chequers and said it’s that or nothing.”

Hunt said the proposals in the Chequers plan were preferable because the proposed “free trade area” would do away with the need for a hard border in Northern Ireland. “That’s the main reason we came up with them,” he said.

Nevertheless, the Foreign Secretary’s comments could signal the start of a cabinet push to rewrite Chequers.

May’s senior ministers are due to meet on Monday.

Home secretary Sajid Javid is also said to favour the Canada model. Both he and Hunt are believed to harbour leadership ambitions.

Chancellor Philip Hammond, and Business Secretary Greg Clark, have previously warned cabinet that a Canada deal would lead to unacceptable non-tariff barriers at all British ports, and could see supply chains damaged.

Meanwhile, the latest YouGov poll suggested 40% of voters thought Brexit right, down two points, while 47% thought it was wrong, up one point.