SCOTLAND must have the option of becoming an independent nation in Europe as it faces “a real and growing economic and social threat” with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, the SNP have warned.

Ahead of the announcement this morning of the results of the Conservative leadership contest – which the former Foreign Secretary is expected to win – Ian Blackford said Johnson’s threat of a no-deal Brexit, would cost thousands of jobs and could plunge the country into recession.

The SNP leader at Westminster said Scots were looking on in horror at events at Westminster.

“It’s clearer than ever before that Scotland faces the very real threat of being dragged down the road to economic and social Brexit self-harm,” said Blackford, who urged Johnson to “step back from the brink” of a no deal exit from the EU.

READ MORE: Cross-party legal challenge bids to stop Prime Minister closing Parliament

“If the Tory leadership contest is a sign of things to come then I warn Boris Johnson against building a bunker-mentality government that would shut off any attempts at seeking a meaningful route out of the Brexit crisis.”

He added: “It’s no wonder then that support for independence is rising, and a majority now support a fresh referendum on Scotland’s future. With the October Brexit deadline fast approaching, Scotland is looking on in horror at the bleak Boris Johnson Brexit Britain on offer. Scotland must have a choice over a better future.

“It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an equal and independent European country.”

Blackford’s warning came as a prominent critic of Johnson became the latest minister to quit the Government, hitting out at the “haphazard and ramshackle” would-be prime minister.

Sir Alan Duncan resigned from the Foreign Office on the eve of the Tory leadership announcement and set out a plan for an early Commons test of Johnson’s authority which could have prevented him entering Number 10.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson: Glasgow to host first protest against new PM

Johnson is widely expected to defeat Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to become the Tory leader before replacing Theresa May as PM tomorrow.

Sir Alan launched an effort to hold an emergency Commons debate on the new Tory leader - a move which could have potentially dealt him a fatal blow before he formally took office.

But he said Commons Speaker John Bercow had turned down his application for a debate after the leadership result is announced today but before the new prime minister is appointed by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

If it had been allowed to go ahead, MPs would have been given the chance to consider “the merits of the newly chosen leader of the Conservative Party” and - crucially - whether the Commons “supports his wish to form a government”.

The National:

Sir Alan, who served in the Foreign Office under Johnson, insisted his actions were not motivated by “personal animosity of any sort” about Johnson but “very grave concerns that he flies by the seat of his pants and it’s all a bit haphazard and ramshackle”. He said his plan could have averted a constitutional crisis if Johnson goes to Buckingham Palace to be appointed prime minister but then cannot command the support of MPs.

“A fundamental principle of our democracy is that the prime minister is the person who can command a majority in the House of Commons and that is untested and it is in doubt. I thought, in order to avoid a constitutional crisis, we should test that on the Tuesday - tomorrow - before he goes to the palace on the Wednesday and the Speaker has denied me and the House that opportunity.”

Sir Alan’s resignation will not be the last. Chancellor Philip Hammond and Justice Secretary David Gauke having already confirmed they will quit rather than be sacked by Johnson.