Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has angrily accused Prime Minister Theresa May of “driving Scotland over a hard Brexit cliff”.
The tongue lashing came after what was clearly a difficult Downing Street meeting between the two.
Mrs Sturgeon lambasted Mrs May for what she said was a lack of clear vision for the future of the UK outside the EU.
She urged Mrs May to stop “closing the door” on what could be beneficial trade deals for the UK and said if she did not change her hard line stance on the way the divorce from Europe is to be handled, then she was committed to holding a second independence referendum in Scotland.
However, not to take Mrs Sturgeons words lying down, Mrs May came out fighting saying that Scotland must take responsibility and play its own part in pushing for a Brexit package for the whole of the UK.
The bitter war of words came to a head immediately following showdown talks between Mrs Sturgeon, Mrs May, and the first ministers of Wales and Northern Ireland Carwyn Jones and Arlene Foster.
Mrs May has assured leaders of the devolved nations that they will have a “hotline” into Brexit negotiations by being part of crucial meetings with Brexit minister David Davis.
However, Downing Street officials say there has been no promised to Mrs Sturgeon that Scotland can remain in the single market even if the remainder of the UK leaves.
Clearly still hopeful that Scotland can secure a special relationship with the EU, Mrs Sturgeon said it was “nonsense” to say that a separate deal for Scotland would undermine the UK’s wider negotiations.
She said: “I’m not seeking to undermine anyone. I don’t know what the UK’s negotiating position is, so there’s nothing there that I can see to undermine. I can’t undermine something that doesn’t exist, and at the moment it doesn’t seem to me like there is a UK negotiating strategy, which is one of the sources of great frustration.”
Mrs Sturgeon went on to say that as 62 per cent of voters in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, she would be doing her own country a disservice if she wasn’t engaging in discussions to try to protect Scotland’s best interests.
The Prime Minister, meanwhile, has promised MPs that they will be given the opportunity to debate the broad principles involved in upcoming Brexit negotiations before Christmas.