A SCOTTISH Labour MSP has been accused of “sticking his head in the sand” by ignoring the carnage caused by Brexit and dubbing a debate on the issue a “fantasy”.

Neil Bibby, an MSP for the West Scotland region, said during an interview that the Scottish Government’s debate on Scotland’s future in the European Union was a “desperate distraction”.

He insisted the focus should be on the NHS and cost of living crisis, but did not draw the link between Scotland and the UK leaving the European bloc.

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Bibby lodged an amendment last week claiming that Scotland would be best served with "Scottish and UK Labour administrations”, rather than an independent country joining the EU.

His comments prompted fury from the SNP, who said the party is more interested in protecting bankers' bonuses rather than fixing the UK’s disastrous economy, caused by Brexit.

Speaking to Talk TV, Bibby (below) claimed the debate on the EU was a “distraction”.

“It’s clear we’ve got a cost of living crisis, we’ve got an NHS crisis, we’ve got a crisis affecting the Government’s release of WhatsApp messages and there’s a real need for the Scottish Government to start focusing on what matters to the people of Scotland,” he said.

The National:

“Instead of having debates and fantasy debates about rejoining the EU and not having to join the Euro as a result of that.

“I really think the Scottish Government needs to focus on those priorities, make sure we’ve got the practical support for people.

“Labour set out plans for GB Energy and a New Deal for working people, we can make a real difference to people rather than this deliberate distraction from the real pressing priorities the people of Scotland have.”

Later, Bibby said the Scottish Government shouldn’t be “focusing on the arguments of the past” and Brexit, but on “real issues”.

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He added: “Debates like we saw on Tuesday with the Brexit debate are a desperate attempt to try and distract from the very real and pressing priorities Scotland have.”

However, SNP MP Alyn Smith (below) blasted the Scottish Labour MSP for refusing to address the impact Brexit has had on the very issues that he raised.

The party’s Europe and EU Accession spokesperson at Westminster, Smith said: “Labour politicians have collectively opted to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the economic carnage unfurled by Brexit, and Neil Bibby wants the rest of Scotland to follow suit.

“Brexit has been a disaster for Scotland and no honest politician can tell you otherwise.

The National: Alyn Smith

“Scotland didn’t vote for any of this but thanks to Labour and the Tories, we were dragged out of the EU against our will and have been suffering the consequences ever since.”

Smith pointed out that post-Brexit households are struggling with the cost of living, energy bills, rising food prices, and businesses losing trade.

He added: “Our economy has shrunk drastically and the cost of running our NHS has increased dramatically while public services struggle to recruit the staff they need.

“While it doesn’t fit Labour’s agenda to discuss these major issues head on, the only serious policy to grow Scotland’s economy and give households the protection they need is to rejoin the EU and the world’s largest single market.

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“While Labour prioritises protecting bankers’ bonuses over supporting children in need by scrapping the two-child cap, only the SNP are focused on the priorities and values of the people of Scotland.

“A vote for the SNP at the upcoming election is a vote for Scotland to choose a fairer future, as an independent nation inside the European Union.”

We told how Bibby’s amendment was unsuccessful, with MSPs backing a motion that said Scotland’s future is “best served” by being part of the EU.