NICOLA Sturgeon has delivered a message of hope for the election, with 25 days to go until Scotland could escape Brexit and enjoy a “better future as an independent country”.

The First Minister said there was increasing recognition Scotland has reached a crossroads and the time has come to enable the country to choose its own future.

She warned the campaign for the December 12 election so far had revealed the “existential crisis” which is engulfing not just Labour and the Tories – but the whole of Westminster.

Rather than Brexit being the cause of this, she argued it is “merely a symptom”.

She warned even if a second EU referendum results in a vote to stay, the issue of Brexit could dominate UK politics for years to come.

Writing in the Sunday National, Sturgeon said: “It is in Scotland and the UK’s overwhelming interests to remain in the EU – so SNP MPs will always support another referendum on EU membership if it is proposed in the House of Commons. The SNP is Scotland’s Remain party.

“That vote may or may not take place in the first half of next year – but crucially, Scotland is not in control of if and when that vote occurs, or of what the outcome would be.

“And I don’t think we should just sit around hoping that Westminster might suddenly get its act together.

“There comes a time where we have to ensure that we can choose our own future.”

Sturgeon criticised Boris Johnson for ruling out another independence referendum – even if the SNP wins in Scotland.

She said it means the Tory pitch to voters in Scotland is they will be ignored – no matter how they vote.

And she argued Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s wavering position on indyref2 was a sign he knows it is “democratically indefensible” to block another referendum.

She said: “There are now 25 days until the election – 25 days to ensure that Scotland can escape Brexit.

“And that is the powerful message of democracy and hope that the SNP will be delivering the length and breadth of Scotland over the next few weeks.”

Michael Russell will also begin an “escape Brexit tour” across Scotland tomorrow.

Scotland’s Brexit Secretary will hold a series of town hall meetings across the country to urge voters to back the SNP as a means of putting Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.

Russell said: “With just 25 days to go till the General Election only a vote for the SNP is a vote to escape Brexit, lock the Tories out of Downing Street, reject austerity, and put Scotland’s future into Scotland’s hands.

“With Boris Johnson now in the pocket of Nigel Farage and Donald Trump it is all the more important that we stop the Tories in their tracks.

“Over the next four weeks I will be holding town hall meetings across the country to take our message to every corner of Scotland.”

Last week outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk warned the UK will become an “outsider” and “second-rate player” after leaving the EU and urged people not to giving up on stopping Brexit.

Russell said Tusk’s comments were a reminder of the danger of the Tory government’s “reckless plans” to take Scotland out of the EU against its will – which will lead to a roll back on environmental rights, cost thousands of jobs, hit the economy and harm people’s livelihoods.

He added: “That is a price that the people of Scotland must not be forced to pay.”

Meanwhile, Russell has warned Boris Johnson has deliberately positioned the Tories as the “nasty party”, which is now dominated by “cynical arrogant Brexiteers”.

He said the spotlight being shone on politicians during the General Election means that “no-one can hide from what they really are”.

He pointed to examples such as the comments made by Jacob Rees-Mogg over the Grenfell fire. The Commons leader provoked outrage when he claimed it would have been “common sense” to ignore fire brigade advice and flee the tower block fire.

Russell said remarks made by Johnson himself such as Muslim women looking like “letter boxes” reveal what “his type of Tory really thinks” and gives others the licence to “rejoice in being nasty”.

He said more civilised and thoughtful Tory party representatives and members are being driven out and replaced by “cynical, arrogant Brexiteers”.

He added: “By all but merging with the Brexit Party, and allowing Nigel Farage to be its guiding light, it has confirmed its pre-eminent position as the ‘nasty party’.

“Moreover Johnson deliberately willed it so, in order that he might become Prime Minister.

“Fortunately there is a way out for Scotland – independence. Choose that and we need never pay heed to him and his like again.”