THERESA May should be an “ex-prime minister” following her resounding defeat in the Commons on her Brexit deal last night, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In a television interview shortly after the vote, the First Minister hit out at the Tory leader, saying “by rights this PM and government should be out of office this evening”.

She added: “She really only has herself to blame for where she is this evening, and by any conventional rules of politics she would be an ex-prime minister tonight.”

She also responded “indeed” to one commentator on Twitter who wrote that “nine countries with a smaller population than Scotland will have a legal veto on whether Scotland (& the UK) leaves the EU on March 29, but Scotland’s Government will have no power over that decision. That’s the difference between the European Union & the British Union.”

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In a statement released earlier, the First Minister said the UK Government had “effectively ceased to function” while the UK “remains poised on a cliff edge”.

She went on to say that its “is abundantly clear is that the UK Government and Parliament have been unable to turn the result of the 2016 referendum into a workable or deliverable plan to leave the European Union” as she called for MPs to “reject the catastrophe of no-deal” and to allow for more time for a sensible way forward to be found. She appealed to the PM to definitively rule out no-deal, instead of offering a free vote on the issue and said she would support a second EU vote, provided Remain was an option on the ballot paper.

“Scotland’s needs and voice have been ignored by the UK Government throughout the Brexit process, and today a handful of DUP MPs held more sway over Scotland’s future than our own national Parliament – that demonstrates more clearly than ever that the case for Scotland becoming an independent country has never been stronger,” she added.

“We will continue to stand up for Scotland and to reflect our nation’s overwhelming vote to remain in the EU.”

The National:

During the earlier debate, the SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said his party “would not be fooled” into backing May’s deal.

The Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP said he was “devastated” by the idea of Brexit and urged MPs to “act to stop the greatest act of self-harm to our economy” by voting down the Withdrawal Agreement.

He said: “To stand here today with only 17 days to go until we leave the EU, to know that Scotland’s historic place in Europe is under threat is devastating ...

“The Prime Minister believes she can fool us the way she has fooled those on her own benches.

“We won’t be fooled, nothing has changed ... This deal isn’t a new deal, it’s the same deal and it’s the same bad deal for Scotland.”

READ MORE: SNP MPs step up independence talk ahead of Brexit vote

He would not be drawn on the impact voting down the deal could have on the Northern Irish border.

Independent unionist MP Lady Sylvia Hermon (North Down) stressed her concerns that voting down May’s deal left Northern Ireland at risk.

She said: “Could I ask him to look at the wider country of the UK and explain to this House before we vote tonight the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal and the consequences particularly for Northern Ireland.

“Many businesses, many farmers, many fishermen, many people, many community leaders support the PM’s Brexit deal. I do not want violence back on the border again.”

Blackford said his party would vote against the deal and against no-deal.