THE Prime Minister’s plan to take the UK out of the European single market “undoubtedly” brings Scotland closer to a second referendum on independence, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister said Theresa May’s hard Brexit proposal “threatens to be economically catastrophic”, and she warned the British Government must engage with the Scottish administration’s plans to stay in the single market even if the UK leaves.

In an interview with the BBC, she agreed that the move away from single market membership leaves a second independence vote “all but inevitable”, and added: “I think that is very likely the case.”

Earlier, she released a statement which promised Scottish voters that a different future would be possible.

She warned that taking the UK out of the single market would lead to a “race to the bottom” with the country becoming a “low wage, low tax, deregulated economy” where all but the wealthiest would be worse off. This, Sturgeon said, was not what Scots had voted for.

During her Brexit broadside, the Prime Minister said she was still considering the Scottish Government’s proposals for Scotland’s place in Europe, published in December.

Though it seems now to be impossible that Sturgeon and May’s positions can be reconciled, the Prime Minister has yet to say “no”, leaving the First Minister seemingly unable to announce any future independence referendum. However, she told the BBC that such a vote was inevitable.

“Scotland did not vote for the direction set out in the Prime Minister’s speech,” Sturgeon said, accusing the Prime Minister of being under the control of her party’s “hard-right”.

Sturgeon added: “The Prime Minister gave the game away towards the end of her speech when she talked of the potential for the UK to become a low-wage, low-tax, de-regulated economy. That would see a race to the bottom replace our membership of the single market and everyone – perhaps apart from the very wealthiest – would be worse off as a result.”

The First Minister said there had been no evidence that “Scotland’s voice is being listened to or our interests taken into account”.

“It seems the Westminster Tory Government now think they can do anything to Scotland and get away with it. They must start to understand how wrong they are. 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 reputation 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.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said May had set out “a clear and reasonable plan for Britain as we prepare for the negotiations that will come”.

The Scottish Tory leader also called on the SNP to have the “good grace” to accept that many of its own demands “have been recognised by the UK Government”.

“Ever since the Brexit vote, the SNP has tried to use the result as an excuse for holding a divisive second referendum on independence,” Davidson warned, calling on Sturgeon to “now rule a second referendum out and instead work to get the best deal out of Brexit for all of us across the UK”.

Scottish Labour’s Kezia Dugdale accused May of “furthering the sort of divisions the SNP thrives on”.

Dugdale went on: “The wrong reaction to this speech would be to call for another referendum on independence. It’s illogical to react to the UK leaving the EU single market by calling for Scotland to leave the UK single market too. Remaining in the UK is even more important to Scotland than being part of the EU.”

Ross Greer from the Scottish Greens called the Prime Minister’s speech “confused, contradictory and dangerous.”

Brexit ministers from the devolved parliaments will meet on Thursday.