The National:

THERE are red faces all around the Scotland Office today, as Scottish Secretary David Mundell finally revealed his true feelings about Brexit ... or quite possibly about independence.

In an email to a constituent in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, Mundell opens with the somewhat unexpected line: “I don't believe staying in the UK is an option at this stage.”

We'd agree, David!

We know he the Scottish Tory MP, like many of his party colleagues, has trouble with keeping his views consistent, but this is a bit much, even by his standards.

Mundell’s constituency office said it was actually a “spelling error” and that as many of the affected emails as possible had been “recalled and corrections issued”.

A member of his staff then referred The National to Mundell’s London office.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of State for Scotland said: "The vast majority of people in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale would be horrified by the prospect of Scotland leaving the UK, so we apologise for this administrative error."

He does manage to get back on track in the email, explaining that he will be backing the Government's deal, which he believes is the only way to avoid the “disaster of a no-deal Brexit”.

Mundell says he “won’t pretend the deal is perfect” as nobody gets all they want from a negotiation.

The Scottish Secretary reminds the constituent of the much-vaunted red lines, over which he had said he would resign.

“If between now and the final vote in Parliament we learn the deal does not deliver everything we’ve promised our fishing industry, I’ll not be able to support it and the same goes for Northern Ireland … I need to be sure the so-called backstop plan does not threaten the integrity of the UK by creating fundamentally different, permanent arrangements for Northern Ireland.

“But I’m encouraged those risks have been avoided because it’s clear the arrangements focus on the specific circumstances in Northern Ireland – the need to honour the Belfast Agreement and maintain the fragile peace process, and to avoid a hard border with Ireland.”

In November, SNP MP Pete Wishart likened Mundell to a “demented Grand Old Duke of York” who had led his “merry band of Scotch Tories halfway up resignation hill and then forgotten whether he is going up or down”.

However, he made no mention of his red lines in the email, saying simply: “I’ve been disappointed by the soap opera of cabinet resignations over the past few weeks.

“It is time for MPs on all sides to recognise that the alternative to the deal we have negotiated is leaving the EU without a deal. I hope that nightmare prospect really focuses minds in the weeks ahead.”

A typo ... or a telling slip?