NICOLA Sturgeon has claimed the Brexit process has “strengthened the democratic case” for Scottish independence as she warned Theresa May that if she ignored Holyrood’s rejection of the Brexit Bill today, it would prove she could not be trusted.

But the First Minister declined to say if the argument for holding a second referendum on Scotland's future had also been strengthened, suggesting people would “have to wait and see” regarding her future decision on whether or not to call for another vote on Scotland’s future.

And Ms Sturgeon, speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event in the City of London, also claimed there was now a "realistic possibility" that MPs could force the Prime Minister into a U-turn to keep Britain in the European customs union.

Today, a majority of MSPs is expected to reject giving consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill, which they believe is a “power-grab” by Whitehall.

The FM said that, far from the SNP Government being isolated on the Brexit Bill as Whitehall has suggested, the vote today expected to withhold consent and also be backed by Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, would prove it was the Conservatives and Mrs May’s Government, who were isolated on the issue.

Ms Sturgeon said with time almost out that, at “three minutes to midnight,” there was still a path to a deal with the UK Government.

“What happens after tomorrow, the ball will be very much in the UK Government’s court; they have a decision to make as to whether they are going to ignore the views of the Scottish Parliament or listen to those views and try very hard to get a deal and to close the gap that remains between us.”

The FM said some progress had been made in the talks but much of that would be in an agreement rather than in legislation; so she and her colleagues were being asked to take a lot on trust.

“It strikes me that if the UK Government decides after tomorrow to carry on regardless, it demonstrates we were right not to take some of this on trust,” she noted.

Ms Sturgeon accepted that Whitehall asking for Holyrood’s consent on issues normally devolved was a constitutional convention but she said if UK ministers ignored the Scottish Parliament’s view, then they would “go into unchartered constitutional territory” and it would “set a very bad precedent and a very bad example”.

The SNP leader claimed that the Brexit process had “strengthened the democratic case” for Scottish independence, noting: “It stands to reason when two of the nations of the UK vote to remain but a majority across the UK votes to leave and we face the prospect of being removed from the EU against our democratic will, then clearly that raises profound democratic questions…”

On the issue of indyref2 Ms Sturgeon said there had to be greater clarity on the way forward and people would have to “wait and see” what her decision would be.

The FM denounced the “absurdity” of the UK Cabinet’s deadlock on future customs arrangements but said: “There’s a real possibility – and the SNP can be part of this in the House of Commons - of forcing the UK Government…for remaining effectively in the current customs union.”

Meanwhile, Neil Findlay, Scottish Labour’s Brexit spokesman, said the continuing “problems” with the Brexit bill meant his party would vote against giving consent.

“The Tories shambolic handling of this key area for Scotland is pushing the case towards the Supreme Court. The people of Scotland want this mess fixed and even at this late stage there is still time to do that.

“That is why this week Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for cross-party talks featuring all of the parties of the Scottish Parliament to break the Tory/SNP Brexit deadlock,” he added.

Adam Tomkins, the Scottish Conservatives’ constitutional spokesman, said the blame for getting no deal lay “entirely with the SNP”.

He declared: “Nicola Sturgeon has refused to compromise. It’s not in Scotland’s interests that the SNP prefers picking fights to making a deal.”

Mr Tomkins urged Labour and the Lib Dems to “put aside narrow political interests” and look to the national interest and support a deal which, he argued, would both strengthen the Scottish Parliament’s powers and protect the integrity of the United Kingdom.

Elsewhere, David Miliband, the former Labour Foreign Secretary, said Britain was being “held to ransom” by hard Brexiteers as he shared a platform with former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Nick Clegg and former Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to launch a cross-party message for a soft Brexit;

In his first major Brexit intervention, Mr Miliband, who now leads the New York-based International Rescue Committee aid agency, also warned Jeremy Corbyn that he could become "midwife" to a hard Brexit and said the UK needed a "safe harbour" after exit, proposing membership of European Economic Area.