THE Scottish Secretary has been forced to defend himself after defying Theresa May and abstaining on a crucial vote ruling out a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances.

David Mundell indicated he would not resign despite flouting Government orders – and insisted the Prime Minister had his “full support”.

READ MORE: Brexit and Theresa May on the brink after MPs revolt over no deal 

It came after MPs rejected a no-deal Brexit under any circumstances by a majority of 43 votes following the crushing defeat of Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement on Tuesday.

The Government tabled a motion to prevent the UK leaving the EU on March 29 without a deal.

But before this was voted on, an amendment initially backed by Tory MP Caroline Spelman – which ruled out exiting the EU without a deal at any point – was passed by just four votes.

The Government then ordered Tory MPs to vote against its own motion, but were defeated by 321 votes to 278 – with four cabinet ministers, including Mr Mundell, abstaining.

He later tweeted: “I’ve always opposed a no-deal Brexit. The House made its view clear by agreeing the Spelman amendment, I didn’t think it was right for me to oppose that.

“The PM has my full support in her objective of leaving the EU with a deal to deliver an orderly Brexit.”

Sources said he did not have to quit as he had not voted against the Government.

But SNP MP Drew Hendry insisted Mr Mundell must resign as he had “proved himself utterly incapable of standing up for Scotland’s interests”.

He said it was “shameful” most Scottish Tory MPs had voted with the Government to reject ruling out a no-deal exit.

Meanwhile, shadow Scottish secretary Lesley Laird accused Mr Mundell of an “absolute abdication of duty”.

She said: “David Mundell proclaimed that he would vote to take no-deal off of the table but he appears to have caved under pressure.

READ MORE: David Mundell forced to defend himself after defying Government on no-deal Brexit vote

“No-deal is an economic and social calamity for our country. If he is not sacked, he should resign for the simple reason that his party thought it was a good idea to inflict that on the Scottish people.”

Mr Mundell previously insisted he would do “whatever I deem necessary” to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Elsewhere, Scottish Tory MP Paul Masterton, who represents East Renfrewshire, was among those to vote against the Government.

The SNP insisted Brexit should be delayed long enough to hold another referendum on EU membership following the UK Government’s descent into “total chaos”.

Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Theresa May must now extend or revoke Article 50 – and “put the decision back to the people”.

He said: “The UK Government has descended into total chaos. Theresa May has lost control. That means it’s time to put the decision on our EU membership back to the people.

Parliament has now resoundingly rejected Theresa May’s deal and leaving with no deal.

“Only a fresh referendum can now unblock things. The UK government must now extend or revoke Article 50, and set into motion plans to hold a second EU referendum – with Remain on the ballot paper.

“Staying in the EU is the best deal of all. It’s what Scotland and Northern Ireland voted for, and it’s the only way to protect jobs, living standards, our public services and the economy.

“Holding a second EU referendum is the best and most democratic way out of the impasse at Westminster. The UK government has failed and the people must now have their say.

“Scotland did not vote for Brexit and we should not be dragged out of the EU against our will. And the way Scotland has been ignored throughout the Brexit process means the case for independence is now stronger than it has ever been.”

Kerry Buist, director of Scotland for a People’s Vote, welcomed the result. She added: “There is only one way forward in these circumstances – to hand the final decision back to the public through a People’s Vote.”