A second Scottish independence referendum is "more likely" after Theresa May unveiled her "hard Brexit" plan, Nicola Sturgeon warned on Tuesday (17 January).

The First Minister of Scotland's comments come just hours after May revealed that her government would not seek to maintain the UK's membership of the EU's Single Market.

Theresa May's Brexit speech: As it happened

"Scotland did not vote for the direction set out in the prime minister's speech today – and it is not in our national interests," Sturgeon said.

"For all her warm words, it is now clear that the UK is heading for a hard Brexit, which threatens to be economically catastrophic."

The SNP leader also argued that decisions were being driven by the "obsessions of the hard-right of the Tory Party".

"It seems the Westminster Tory Government now think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it. They must starts to understand how wrong they are," she said

"The UK government cannot be allowed to take us out of the EU and the Single Market, regardless of the impact on our economy, jobs, living standards and our republication as an open, tolerant country, without Scotland having the ability to choose between that and a different future.

"With her comments today, the prime minister has only succeeded in making that choice more likely."

But a second independence vote, just years after Scots rejected splitting from the rest of the UK in 2014, would have to be agreed by the UK government.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron made such a move in 2012 when he co-signed the Edinburgh Agreement.

The latest poll from BMG, of more than 1,000 voters in Scotland between 9 and 16 December, showed that 47% of respondents supported No and 40% backed an independence, while 13% of voters were undecided.

May's 12-point Brexit plan

  1. Government will provide certainty and clarity to politicians and businesses
  2. UK will 'control our own laws' by quitting the European Court of Justice
  3. May will strengthen the 'precious union' between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland
  4. There will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
  5. UK will 'control' EU immigration, while recruiting the 'brightest and the best' from around the world
  6. Government will seek a reciprocal residency rights deal for EU and UK workers 'as soon as possible'
  7. May has promised to protect workers' rights
  8. Ministers will seek a 'bold' and 'comprehensive' free trade agreement with the EU
  9. UK will seek a customs agreement so that it can broker its own trade deals with non-EU nations
  10. May will keep European science and innovation ties in bid to keep the UK a 'world leader'
  11. UK will continue to work with the EU in bid a bid to combat the threat of terrorism
  12. Ministers will seek to avoid a 'cliff edge' and seek a smooth split from the EU

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davison, who campaigned for Remain at the EU referendum, urged Sturgeon to drop her independence referendum threat.

"Ever since the Brexit vote, the SNP has tried to use the result as an excuse for holding a divisive second referendum on independence," she said.

"It has failed to persuade people in Scotland of that case. Now that the UK government has spelled out this plan of action, that case has collapsed altogether.

"There is no justification whatsoever for that threat to be maintained. Nicola Sturgeon should now rule a second referendum out and instead work to get the best deal out of Brexit for all of us across the UK."

Scotland backed Remain 62% to 38% at the EU referendum, while the UK voted 52% to 48% for Leave.