If the UK leaves the EU this year with a no deal Brexit then a second independence referendum could be brought forward, the SNP has said.

Speaking after the European Parliament elections, in which the SNP won three of the six Scottish seats, Michael Russell, Brexit Secretary, said that any deal that takes Scotland out of the EU against its will would give the Scottish Parliament the right to have a second referendum.

He added, the Tories are lurching further towards a no deal Brexit and if it happens the conditions of the SNP manifesto for a second independence vote will “have been met in full”.

In that case, he said “If conditions change we could operate on an accelerated timetable”.

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Mr Russell said “The Westminster system is broken and there’s no mending of it in sight”.

He told MSPs at Holyrood: “There must be, and there is, a better way forward, an independent nation.”

He added: “Scotland deserves and has clearly demanded, better.”

The SNP was criticised for using the European election vote to push on with the independence campaign.

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Adam Tomkins, Glasgow Conservative MSP and Tory constitution spokesman, said Nicola Sturgeon told people that a vote for the SNP last week was not a vote for independence.

He said: “She must think our heads button up the back.”

Instead of statements on patients waiting for treatment on the NHS, he said:  “Here we are again talking about Nicola Sturgeon’s pet obsession with independence.”

Labour leader, Richard Leonard, said the problem was the Tories not the UK Government.

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He said: “It is evident there’s a breakdown in trust between the UK Government and devolved nations. Not because it’s a UK government but because it’s a Tory government.

“The setting up of a separate Scottish state is a distraction from the real issues this parliament was set up to address.”