Scotland will not be silenced by a Tory Government intent on "riding roughshod over its national interest", the External Affairs Secretary has said.

Fiona Hyslop urged MSPs to "stand up for Scotland's interests" by backing Scottish Government plans to keep the country in the European single market.

She led a debate on the proposals at Holyrood just hours after the Prime Minister said Britain will leave the trade bloc when it quits the European Union.

Ms Hyslop said it was "disappointing" to see the prospect of the UK as a whole staying in the single market rejected by Theresa May, adding that the SNP administration "will continue to work with everyone across the political spectrum to take forward the arguments of a differentiated option for Scotland within the UK negotiating position".

She added: "We want our discussions with the UK Government to succeed.

"But if our attempts at agreeing a compromise are rejected, then it is vital that we continue to have other options available to us, including that of a referendum on independence.

"If the hard right of the Tory party, which is driving the UK debate, can drive Scotland not only out of the EU but out of the single market as well, it will start to believe it can do anything to Scotland and get away with it.

"Scotland will not be silenced by a right-wing Tory Government which is intent of riding roughshod over our vital national interest and the democratic voice of the Scottish people.

"It is time to stand up for the interests of Scotland."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon published a range of options to protect Scotland's place in Europe at the end of last year, including a "differentiated option" for the country to stay in the single market even if the rest of the UK leaves it, and the devolution of more powers.

MSPs will vote on whether to endorse the Scottish Government to discuss the proposals with the UK Government.

The proposals will be presented at Thursday's meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU negotiations, Ms Hyslop said.

The Scottish Government has said the plans represent a "significant compromise", given that the majority of Scots voted to stay in the EU last year.

"The ball is firmly in her (the Prime Minister's) court," Ms Hyslop added.

Conservative MSP Dean Lockhart said "serious concerns" had been raised about the Government's proposals for a differentiated agreement for Scotland.

He said: "Members of the First Minister's own standing council of experts have said the proposals would be highly unlikely and extremely difficult to implement. We share these concerns.

"On this side of the chamber we encourage the Scottish Government to work closely with the rest of the UK and use the full strength of the UK's bargaining position to get the best deal for Scotland."

Mr Lockhart highlighted that the foreword to the document setting out the plans contains 11 separate references to independence.

He added: "Yet again the SNP continues to defy economic logic by constantly campaigning to leave our domestic UK trading market representing 65% of our business to maintain membership of a European single market that accounts for only 15%.

"A clear majority of people in Scotland do not want another independence referendum, do not want to join the eurozone, the Schengen Area, and do not want to be part and subject to the monetary and fiscal policies of the European Central Bank.

"It is time for the SNP to stop using this paper as a European version of the White Paper on independence, listen to the people of Scotland and rule out another damaging independence referendum."

Lewis Macdonald MSP, for Labour, said Mrs May had shown "little evidence of a willingness to consider different outcomes on the single market for different parts of the UK".

He said: "The Prime Minister has given undertakings to consider proposals from the Scottish Government and that pledge should be honoured.

"Our starting point in this debate is that we acknowledge the benefits that Scotland and Britain have derived from membership of the European single market but we know that the single market of the UK is even more important to our vital interests.

"The Scottish Government has proposed that Scotland can retain the benefits of one without sacrificing the other, but ministers I hope recognise that retaining our place in the single market does not mean the status quo, it cannot mean full membership of the single market if the UK Parliament endorses what Theresa May had to say.

"Our place in future... has to mean the most unfettered access to that market that can be achieved in the context of the decision of the UK as a whole.

"But in that context, ministers can and should continue to seek ways to protect Scotland's vital interest."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "The Conservatives have embraced a hard Brexit and they tell us to give up on the EU.

"The SNP are desperate to tell us, as the end of Fiona Hyslop's speech made clear, that we need to give up on the United Kingdom, and Labour - I don't know what Labour stand for anymore.

"I do not know whether they stand for the European Union, I do not know whether they stand for the United Kingdom either. They are prepared to accept a blank cheque for Theresa May to agree whatever she likes."

He accused the Conservatives of a "democratic stitch-up", said he would "never choose" between being in the UK or the EU, and called for a referendum to be held on the Brexit deal.

Mr Rennie added that he does not believe the SNP's differentiated solution to remain in the single market can work.

He added: "We do not need the chaos of independence to compound the chaos of Brexit."

Green MSP Ross Greer said: "Theresa May would have to depart far from today's speech to even get halfway towards the proposals from the Scottish Government, which we in the Greens had already seen as the limits of reasonable compromise."

He added: "For all Theresa May spoke about wanting the UK to be more united than ever before, she has steadfastly refused to compromise.

"I believe now that a vote on our own future is all but impossible to avoid.

"It's time we put Scotland's future in Scotland's hands because it's certainly not safe with the Conservatives at Westminster."