Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has backed calls for the UK to take in 3,000 unaccompanied child refugees stranded in Europe.

Less than a day after Tory MPs killed off an attempt to make the UK offer sanctuary to hundreds, Ms Davidson said that “special consideration” should be made.

But No 10 said that lives would be put at risk if desperate parents were encouraged to send their sons and daughters across the Mediterranean alone.

Opposition parties denounced the Conservative Government's stance as “inhumane” “shameful” and “political cowardice”.

Ms Davidson hit back accusing the SNP and Labour of using the suffering of child refugees to score political points.

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish international development minister, warned that as a result of inaction thousands of children would continue to struggle alone and at risk of trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse.

He pointed to figures which suggest an estimated 10,000 children disappeared in Europe last year alone.

He called on Ms Davidson to telephone David Cameron and "urge him to do the right thing", adding: “Ruth Davidson likes to pretend that the Scottish Tories come without the baggage of her colleagues in Westminster, but she can't hide from her own party's record on this - otherwise she is just confirming that she is no different from any other Tory.”

Tory ministers should think again, he said, after "once again (showing) a complete lack of compassion by refusing to give shelter to children fleeing war - a shameful and inhumane act of political cowardice."

Lord Wallace, the former Deputy First Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, accused Tory MPs of “betraying” the UK’s proud humanitarian record, while Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale said that the result of the vote would leave a "further stain" on the reputation of Conservative MPs.

"When the history books are written they will say that (the vote) was a shameful moment for our nation," she said.

"When vulnerable children needed our support the Tory Government walked by on the other side."

Ms Davidson said that the prime focus must be to continue the work being done to support refugees before they travel to Europe.

She added: "But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to do more - and, in my view, that does include special consideration for unaccompanied children to come here.

"What isn't helpful is trying to turn this crisis into an election issue."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said that ministers had looked "very carefully" at how to best help refugees.

She said that UN experts had warned that offering resettlement for unaccompanied children in Europe "could see families seeking to separate off from their children to create new ways of getting to Europe. That's not something we want to see. Refugees have already been through traumatic times. We don't want to see them putting further lives at risk."

MPs also attacked Conservative plans to for a steep hike in charges for would-be immigrants to appeal Home Office decisions.

Ministers have launched a consultation paper proposing the new fee system.