NICOLA Sturgeon has branded Brexit a “developing disaster” and said that if the UK crashed out of the EU with no deal, then a second EU referendum might become irresistible.

Ahead of Theresa May’s Commons statement following her keynote speech in Florence two weeks ago, the First Minister argued that the case for Scottish independence was getting stronger because of the chaos the Conservative Government in London was engulfed in.

However, she made clear she would not set a date for a second vote on Scotland’s future until things became clearer on where the Brexit talks were heading.

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On the issue of having a second poll on Brexit, Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I’m not there right now. Part of the reason I’m not there is because we don’t know what the outcome is going to be yet.

“But, if we end up in a position where the UK crashes out of the EU with no deal at all, the consequences of that are so dire that the argument at that stage maybe irresistible that people should have the right to look at the outcome.”

Holding a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU could help or hinder the case for another vote on Scottish independence, depending on the outcome.

Initially, the FM had called for a vote on independence to be held in the autumn of 2018 or the spring of 2019 but has now put the timetable on hold until the terms of Brexit become clearer.

However, the Prime Minister has made clear she has no intention of granting a so-called Section 30 parliamentary order to facilitate a second Scottish vote this side of the 2022 General Election.

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, has told the Guardian that setting a target date for a second independence poll was "putting the cart before the horse" while his colleague Pete Wishart has suggested the party must first start to craft the "new case for independence 2.0" before it thought about having a vote on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon also challenged the 13 Scottish Conservative MPs, who, she said, could hold “the balance of power” on Brexit at Westminster.

“If they had the gumption, they could exercise, if they voted with the SNP and if Labour got its act together, there could be a majority in the House of Commons to stop a hard Brexit,” added the FM.