SCOTLAND’S treatment by the UK Government in the Brexit process illustrates the need for independence, according to the SNP’s Westminster leader.

Ian Blackford said the crisis engulfing Westminster over leaving the European Union underlines the need for Scotland’s future to be in Scotland’s hands.

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He added that despite the overwhelming vote to Remain north of the Border, the UK Government has refused to engage with repeated compromise proposals by the Scottish Government.

The First Minister repeated calls for a bespoke deal for Scotland after it emerged Northern Ireland may get a special arrangement allowing it to be more aligned with the EU.

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Nicola Sturgeon supports effective single market membership for Northern Ireland, but has said such an option should also be available to Scotland. She believes such a model will put Scotland at a competitive disadvantage to Northern Ireland.

“The UK is gripped by a self-imposed crisis – signed, sealed and delivered by the Tory party,” Blackford commented.

“Brexit in itself is a national disaster that will leave families across Scotland poorer. But it also speaks to the wider failure of a Westminster system that treats Scotland with contempt.

“In 2014, Scotland was promised that a No vote would mean staying in the EU. Not only are we now being dragged out of the EU against our will, but every sincere and reasonable attempt at compromise has been rebuffed.”

He added: “The complete failure of the UK Government to treat Scotland’s democratic will with respect is the greatest illustration of the case for independence. Independence will put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – instead of a Westminster that’s well past its sell by date.”

The First Minister has previously said she will detail plans for a second vote on independence “at the end of this period of negotiation with the EU” and when the terms of Brexit were clear.

But speaking at First Minister’s Questions this week, she said the publication of the draft withdrawal agreement with the EU had not brought this clarity, adding: “I think it is reasonable to wait and allow this to play out over these next few weeks.”

She was questioned on her plans on Thursday by Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, who pressed her on if and when Scotland would be given a choice over the country’s future.

She said: “Obviously we have now seen the terms of the deal – it remains to be seen whether that makes it to a vote in the House of Commons over the next couple of weeks.

“We’ll see how that whole sorry saga plays out and then I will undertake that commitment as I said I would. I have no doubt Scotland will get an opportunity to choose again on the question of independence.”

Writing in The National Harvie yesterday stepped up pressure on the First Minister to make her decision on the timing of a second independence referendum, saying Brexit had made it clear Scotland had been ignored.

“Last year Nicola Sturgeon said she would update the country on plans for an independence referendum once the Brexit negotiations were over and the details of the deal became known. Well, we have those details – they don’t look pretty. The case for Scotland choosing its own future grows stronger with each day.

“The Brexit calamity gives the issue greater immediacy but, frankly, even if Brexit is killed off the past two years have proved beyond doubt the level of contempt Scotland is shown inside the UK. As campaigners, we all want to know what timescale we’re working to,” he wrote.

“Throughout this whole process, the voice of Scotland has been ignored. It’s a bizarre irony that while Theresa May’s deal tries to offer something to every other part of the UK – England and Wales get to leave, which they voted for; Northern Ireland and Gibraltar get essential recognition and arrangements for their special status – it’s still being rejected by everyone.”

He added: “What history will make of Theresa May we can only wonder. The prime minister who walked in with a parliamentary majority, then threw it away; who refused to come down on one side or the other of her party’s 30-year internal civil war ...

“Let’s not go down with them. It’s time we charted our own course, and offered the people of Scotland not impossible promises but a secure future as a member of our European family. It’s time – once again – to say Yes.”