ONLY independence can stop the Tories being “imposed” on Scotland, the SNP’s depute leader has claimed, warning voters not to put their faith in Jeremy Corbyn.

Keith Brown accused Labour of letting Theresa May “off the hook” over this week’s Brexit shambles, and said the party’s push for another General Election at the expense of all other options would see ordinary people “pay the price”.

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Labour’s Shadow Scottish Secretary Lesley Laird hit back at Brown accusing him being irresponsible by agitating for independence at a time when the country stood on the brink of “instability and chaos”.

The National:

Earlier this week the UK Government suffered the biggest parliamentary defeat in history over their Brexit plan.

Meanwhile, expectations of another vote on Scottish constitution ramped up when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon promised to update the country on the timetable for a independence referendum in a “matter of weeks”.

In his comments Brown said this week’s shenanigans in Westminster had “exposed just how badly Scotland’s interests are being served”.

He added: “The Tories are guilty of an historic and generation-defining failure. An internal squabble has moved from the playing fields of Eton to the world stage – and ordinary people are set to pay the price. But Labour, too, have been culpable.

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“The SNP called for a vote of no-confidence in the UK Government last year – but Labour let Theresa May off the hook and she has run down the clock.

The National:

“There are many good reasons to want a General Election. But so long as Labour oppose a second EU referendum, a new government cannot solve the Brexit crisis. There’s barely a cigarette paper separating Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May’s positions on Brexit."

He added that it had “become increasingly clear that the only way Scotland’s interests can be protected – and our democratic decisions respected – is through independence.

“Only independence will stop the Tories for good. We need to grasp that opportunity.”

Laird rubbished Brown’s logic: “It is deeply irresponsible for the SNP to use the instability and chaos caused by the Tories over Brexit to push for yet more instability and chaos with another independence referendum.”

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Meanwhile, one of Sturgeon’s MPs has suggested indyref2 could happen as soon as this summer.

In an appearance on Alex Salmond’s Russia Today TV programme, Angus MacNeil, called on his boss to “trigger the gun” on a new vote.

MacNeil said: “The Scottish people have waited long enough. We’ve been quite patient during the two-and-a-half-year comedy at Westminster. We have to move on.”

Salmond asked whether his successor should seize the moment, and MacNeil replied: “Absolutely. She has to identify the window, then identify the process and then get the specifics on the date. She doesn’t have to name the date today but she has to trigger the gun that it’s going to happen in a specific window.”

He added: “I would advise summer, early autumn 2019, this year, for a referendum. In a month or two’s time she could name the date.”