SCOTLAND’S Brexit Secretary is under fire after appearing to suggest Scottish Tory MPs who voted for Theresa May’s deal are traitors.

Mike Russell made reference to the notorious Ragman Rolls, in which the nobility and gentry of Scotland gave their allegiance to King Edward I of England at the end of the 13th century.

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It came after MPs defeated Mrs May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement for the second time by a crushing 149 votes.

In a late-night tweet, Mr Russell said: “Scottish MPs who voted tonight for Prime Minister’s awful deal which would cripple Scotland & their constituencies: Andrew Bowie, Colin Clark, David Duguid, Luke Graham, Bill Grant, Kirstene Hair, Alister Jack, Stephen Kerr, John Lamont, Paul Masterton, David Mundell. #RagmanRoll”

One of the most infamous documents in Scottish history, the Ragman Rolls list the Scottish nobles who had to give homage to Edward I before and during the first war of Scottish independence.

Following the defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, it contained nearly 1,900 signatures.

Responding on Twitter, Scottish Tory MP Paul Masterton said Mr Russell thought he was being clever by "hiding his 'traitor' remark behind a coded hashtag".

He added: "Pathetic stuff you'd expect from a faceless cybernat account not someone who's supposed to be a senior Scottish Government minister."

Meanwhile, fellow Scottish Tory MP Ross Thomson said such language contributed to him and his colleagues being made the "target" of harassment and vandalism.

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Maurice Golden, the Scottish Tory's chief whip in Holyrood, said: “This was a disgraceful dog-whistle tweet, which he knew fine well would result in elected representatives receiving abuse from his cybernat friends.

“People in Scotland want politicians to get on and make Brexit work.

“But, in Mike Russell at least, they have to endure infantile behaviour and pandering to the lowest common denominator.”

The party's finance spokesman in Holyrood, Murdo Fraser, called on Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the tweet and demand Mr Russell apologise.

In 1932, "Ragman's Roll" was used to describe a document protesting against a Scottish parliament.

Asked about the tweet, the Scottish Government initially referred The Herald to the SNP for comment. 

However, the SNP said it was a Government matter.

A spokesman for Mr Russell later said: “This is a desperate diversion bid from the Tories, who are presiding over the unprecedented shambles of Brexit.

“Scottish Tory MPs who voted for Theresa May’s deal to take us out of the EU are defying the democratic will of the Scottish electorate and acting directly against Scotland’s national interests – and that is exactly what this historical reference was pointing out."