NICOLA Sturgeon has accused the UK government of “arrogance” and warned it is increasing the likelihood of independence after it ruled out a bespoke Scottish deal on Brexit.

In her first response to the Chancellor rejecting special trade and immigration arrangements north of the border, the First Minister said it was “not acceptable” and added that “hopefully in the not too distant future” Scotland would be an independent member of the EU.

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She was reacting to comments made by Philip Hammond on a visit to Edinburgh on Thursday, when he rubbished the SNP Government’s idea of a special Brexit package for Scotland.

The Chancellor said it was “impractical” and “not a realistic option”, and its advocates should stop “clutching at straws” and work together on the best Brexit deal for the whole UK.

Addressing the European Green Party in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon said she wanted the UK to stay in the single market, but hardline Brexiteers had “hijacked” the UK government.

She said: “That means we also have to look at alternatives for Scotland.

“In the coming weeks the Scottish Government will publish proposals on how we can protect Scotland’s place in the single market, even if the UK decides to leave.

“I don’t pretend that will be easy. Coming up with a special arrangement for Scotland will be complex and not straightforward. But it is absolutely essential, if there is any respect for Scotland’s voice on the part of the UK government, that they listen to the proposals.

“Arrogant dismissals of different options for Scotland, as we have heard in the last few days, simply send a message that Scotland’s voice does not matter, and that is not acceptable.

“If that is the message from the UK government - that no matter what Scotland thinks or wants or votes for, that we simply have to accept hard Brexit, with all the damage to our economy, our society, our culture, our place in the world, that that will do - then it is hardly surprising that the question of Scottish independence arises again.”

Referring to her Government’s draft referendum Bill, Ms Sturgeon went on: “We are making preparations that would enable us to hold another independence referendum if independence does become the only way to make sure our voice is heard, to make sure we have a say in the direction we want our country, our economy and our society to take.”

Mr Hammond’s comments were a crushing blow for Ms Sturgeon, as UK government support would be essential to the success of any bespoke Scottish deal - the UK would have to argue for it during next year’s Brexit negotiations, and sacrifice other demands to secure it.

Anticipating the UK government will ignore Scotland’s 62-38 Remain vote in Brussels, Ms Sturgeon appealed directly to her audience - around 120 senior members of Green parties from across Europe - to make Scotland’s case across the continent instead.

She said: “It is hugely important that other EU countries understand our position. We know that the rest of the EU will negotiate with the UK government.

“We found a lot of sympathy for Scotland’s position across Europe. Ironically, I often find a far more receptive audience elsewhere in the EU than we do from politicians in London.

“Please, tell your fellow countrymen and women this: Scotland wants to stay in the European family. We want to be and we are determined to remain an open, outward-looking, internationalist country. That’s the Scotland that you should take home with you in your hearts.”

Ms Sturgeon also called for unity against against the rise of far-right politics in Europe, saying she felt “contempt” for how the Leave campaign had given succour to xenophobia.

Referring to Scottish Green co-conveners Patrick Harvie and Maggie Chapman, she concluded: "I hope that when you come back to Glasgow, hopefully in the not too distant future, Patrick and Maggie and I will welcome you to this city... in an independent Scotland that is a member of the European Union."

Mr Harvie said: "The UK Government, so far at least, appears unwilling to respect Scotland's position and make any appropriate arrangements to reflect how people here voted.

"As Greens, we have our differences with the SNP Government. But on this critical challenge, to safeguard Scotland's place in Europe, we are in strong agreement.”

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Tory Scottish Secretary David Mundell earlier defended Mr Hammond’s comments, telling BBC Radio Scotland: "What I think people across Scotland want us to do, both governments, is work together to get the best possible deal, and that’s the best possible deal that would apply in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK."

A Treasury source said the Chancellor was ready to listen to SNP proposals on a UK-wide approach to Brexit, but did not believe a separate deal for Scotland was feasible.