WE now have less than six months to go until March 29, which is the date the UK is due to leave the EU. Unfortunately, in the past wo weeks the EU has confirmed what many of us already knew to be true - Theresa May’s only plan for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the so-called “Chequers Agreement”, is totally inadequate and completely unworkable.

That means we now appear to be left with the prospect of either no deal whatsoever, or a scenario where we leave the EU with very little detail at all, other than a vague commitment to future negotiations. Both of these options are completely unacceptable, not least for a country which voted to remain in the EU.

It was only in August that the UK government admitted the stark reality of what a no deal scenario could look like when it began publishing a series of technical notices on its impact. Not one of them contained any hint of the ‘Brexit bonanza’ the country was promised by the Tories.

Instead what these technical notes told us is that flights could be grounded; holidays would be more expensive; we could lose access to bank accounts abroad; we might no longer be able to access video or music streaming subscriptions, such as Netflix, from EU countries; we might all have to pay more to use a mobile phone on holidays or other visits to EU member states; businesses will face increased costs in importing and exporting; and food safety will be jeopardised.

It is important to stress that all these warnings of dire consequences are not coming from opposition parties, or businesses or other organisations, and they are not scaremongering - these warnings all come straight from the UK government’s own guidance.

Not only have companies been told to stockpile medicine, just last week it was revealed the government has appointed a Minister for Food Security – someone whose job is to make sure we have enough food in the shops. This is the first time such a post has been needed since World War Two - and I’m sure most of us thought we’d never see the like again.

But this is exactly where the Tory obsession with Brexit - and their woefully incompetent handling of the negotiations - has taken us.

The thing is, I don’t recall seeing any of those messages being emblazoned on the sides of buses by Brexiteer Tories during the referendum campaign in 2016.

Yet we are dangerously close to this Tory UK government - if they continue on this destructive path - dragging us all off the Brexit cliff-edge.

The risk of exiting the EU in March with no agreement on the terms of our future trade relationship with the EU or on a whole host of other arrangements is very real - and it is not a prospect we should even consider accepting.

The situation we are in is a far cry from the promises made by Theresa May two years ago when she ‘reassured’ the country that there would be a detailed position agreed with the EU many months before the UK was due to leave. Instead, she and her government are actively pursuing a course of action which will cause extreme and lasting damage to the UK.

Contrast that to the Scottish Government’s approach. It was two years ago that we published a detailed plan setting out the least worst option if we have to leave the European Union - continued membership of the Customs Union and Single Market.

A weight of external analysis shows that this is the best way to protect jobs, businesses and our quality of life across the country. Two years later with no credible plan from the Tories, it remains the best and only option - short of full EU membership - which would see both Scotland and the UK avoiding catastrophic damage to our economy and future prosperity.

But it seems that Theresa May’s only priority is to solve Tory party infighting by adhering to the demands of her most right-wing members. That was the reason David Cameron called the referendum in the first place and it’s the reason we’re in this mess now. Reckless decisions driven by self-interest is what we have come to expect from the Tories, with businesses and people across the UK set to pay the price.

For Scotland, a hard Brexit would cost 80,000 jobs, shrink our economy by £12.7 billion by 2030 and reduce real disposable income by almost 10 per cent. That is not something we should be prepared to stand for.

The UK government is rapidly running out of time to get an agreement. The choice does not and should not have to be between ‘no deal’ Brexit, or ‘no detail’ Brexit, or a ‘bad deal’ Brexit - that is why I have called for the option to delay Brexit by extending Article 50 to allow time for all alternative options to be considered.

It is time for Theresa May and her party to wake up, face reality and call a halt to their disastrous plan to take the whole UK off the Brexit cliff.