THE “chaos and confusion” of Brexit Britain has made the UK a “laughing stock” around the world, according to Michael Russell.

Scotland’s Constitution Secretary made the intervention as he issued a rallying call for independence in the wake of Boris Johnson’s plan to renege on a treaty he agreed with the EU less than a year ago.

Russell hit out after the bombshell proposal by the PM to override key elements of the Withdrawal Agreement in legislation to be published in Westminster tomorrow came to light.

The development has heightened the prospect of the UK crashing out of the European Single Market in January as the EU has insisted the treaty needs to be abided by for the UK to get a free trade agreement.

“The UK Government is now hurtling towards a disastrous Brexit outcome in the midst of a deep recession and global pandemic,” said Russell.

“With talks with the EU due to resume, the UK has put itself in the position of being able to leave the transition period with one of two terrible outcomes – either a low deal or No Deal. Either will, without a shadow of a doubt, hit Scottish jobs and the Scottish economy very hard.

He added: “Scotland’s interests are being damaged as the whole of UK governance is mired in chaos and confusion, and as we have seen in the Tony Abbott debacle, is the laughing stock of the world.

“Fortunately Scotland has a better option. The Scottish Government remains of the firm belief that the people of Scotland have the right to choose their own future and is determined to make that happen. That is why, before the end of this parliament, we will set out the terms of a future independence referendum clearly and unambiguously to the people of Scotland, in a draft referendum bill.”

Downing Street said yesterday the new Brexit legislation is necessary to protect the Northern Ireland peace process if Britain is unable to secure a free trade deal.

Johnson has set a deadline of October 15 for talks on a free trade deal to reach an agreement, or for both sides to accept there will be no deal when the current transition period ends at the end of the year.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government was proposing “limited clarifications” to the law to ensure ministers can preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement in the event of No Deal.

The Internal Market Bill – to be tabled tomorrow – will ensure goods from Northern Ireland continue to have unfettered access to the UK market while making clear EU state aid rules – which will continue to apply in Northern Ireland – will not apply in the rest of the UK.

In addition, an amendment to the Finance Bill will give ministers the power to designate which goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are considered “at risk” of entering the EU Single Market and are therefore liable to EU tariffs.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said discussions were continuing with the EU to resolve the outstanding issues relating to the Northern Ireland protocol, intended to ensure there is no return of a hard border with the Republic once the transition is over.

He said the legislative changes were a necessary “safety net” in the event that they were unable to come to an agreement.

“As a responsible government, we cannot allow the peace process or the UK’s internal market to inadvertently be compromised by unintended consequences of the protocol,” the spokesman said.

“So we are taking limited and reasonable steps to clarify specific elements of the Northern Ireland protocol in domestic law to remove any ambiguity and to ensure the Government is always able to deliver on its commitments to the people of Northern Ireland.”

A UK official added: “If we don’t take these steps, we face the prospect of legal confusion at the end of the year and potentially extremely damaging defaults, including tariffs on goods moving from GB to Northern Ireland.”

However, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned there could be no backtracking by the UK on its previous commitments if it wanted to reach a free trade agreement.

“I trust the British Government to implement the Withdrawal Agreement, an obligation under international law and prerequisite for any future partnership,” she said.

“[The] protocol on Ireland-Northern Ireland is essential to protect peace and stability on the island and integrity of the single market.”