Sir Billy Connolly has described the Brexit vote as a “disaster” and said Scottish independence “may be the way to go” to retain close ties with Europe.

The US-based actor and comedian did not vote in the 2014 independence referendum and declined to enter the debate, saying he did not want to influence anyone’s views.

But in a new book, Made In Scotland, Connolly suggests that in light of the UK’s proposed withdrawal from the EU, leaving the union might be an option.

Billy Connolly and wife Pamela StephensonBilly Connolly with wife Pamela Stephenson after receiving his knighthood (John Stillwell/PA)

The comments were published in the Sunday Times newspaper, which is serialising the book, and quotes Connolly saying: “The Brexit vote is a disaster and the breaking up of the togetherness of Europe is a crime bordering on a sin.

“I think the more people are together, not separate, the happier they will be.

“The most important thing for Scotland is to keep our contact with Europe.

“Scots voted to stay in Europe, and if the only way for us to do that is to become independent from England, that may just be the way to go. And I never thought I would say that.”

Connolly, affectionately known as the Big Yin, started his show business career as a folk singer before developing the stand-up act that made him famous and led to a career in television and film.

The 75-year-old, who has Parkinson’s disease, was knighted in 2017.