MANY of the bold claims made by leading Brexiteers before and after the referendum have, to put it delicately, not aged well.

Michael Gove, ahead of the 2016 vote, proclaimed: “The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want.”

Fellow eurosceptic David Davis famously said: “There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside.”

Two and half years after the UK narrowly voted for Brexit, the sunny uplands appear as distant as ever.

Not only has Parliament overwhelmingly rejected the draft deal agreed between the Prime Minister and the EU, but the Commons arithmetic makes any deal unlikely.

Even if a majority of MPs were to put aside partisan advantage and make difficult compromises, it is far from clear whether such a ragged plan would be rubber stamped by the EU.

The result of this shambles is that the UK, thanks to Theresa May prematurely invoking Article 50 in 2016, is hurtling towards a no deal exit at the end of March.

It cannot be under-estimated just how much of a disaster this would be for the economy. GDP would fall substantially and lower revenues would usher in a type of austerity politics that would make the last decade feel like the good old days.

Unless a resolution is found, the UK is on the verge of a national catastrophe. Our Westminster politicians would never be forgiven for putting citizens through such hardship.

As we report today, key bodies in civic Scotland are demanding that Article 50 is extended so that more time can be devoted to getting this decision right. These calls should be heeded.

There may not be an obvious majority for a specific Brexit plan, but most MPs are horrified by the prospect of a no deal departure. Brexit should be delayed – and fast.