AS MPs return to Westminster this week, there is a palpable sense of impending doom. The possibility of Theresa May’s deal winning support in the meaningful vote looks, if anything, less likely than it did before the festive break.

There remains no clear scenario which has the support of a majority in the House of Commons, as the deadline for making a decision looms.

Unless there is a dramatic development – in the shape of a People’s Vote – the most likely outcome now seems a no-deal Brexit, widely regarded as a disaster even by many of those who voted to leave the EU.

I have to confess to having had serious reservations about a second vote on leaving or remaining within the EU. Not least of these is an unease that dismissing the result of the first EU referendum could set a dangerous precedent for doing the same when Scotland votes for its independence.

When we take that step the last thing we want is a challenge to the independence vote when the actual deal has been negotiated.

However, the realistic possibility of a no-deal Brexit has softened my resistance to a People’s Vote for three reasons.

Firstly, and most obviously, the dire predictions of economic catastrophe, medicine shortages and the rest will affect Scotland at least as much as the rest of the UK, until we can steer ourselves out of that union.

Secondly, it is impossible to imagine the peculiar circumstances surrounding the aftermath of the EU referendum being replicated after an independence referendum.

And in any case, were a People’s Vote to be held, it would demolish the Unionist argument that there is no need for a second independence referendum and make it virtually impossible for any UK Prime Minister to resist either the existing or any future mandate for a referendum.

A case for the People’s Vote rests not just on the lies we were told and the rules that were broken by the Leave campaign. It rests not just on the fact that Scotland’s vote and the views of its representatives have been routinely ignored.

It rests on Westminister’s inability to determine what exactly the vote meant and to agree on the wildly different options to implement it. That inability now looks likely to lead to a scenario precisely no one voted for.

All this presents a host of problems, but in particular it offers a challenge to the Scottish Tories and to the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell.

All but three Tory MPs in Scotland have publicly backed Theresa May’s deal and signed a letter calling on others to do the same, so damaging would the alternative be.

Mundell – and it should be noted that the Scottish Secretary has so far drawn at least three red lines which he has jumped over with nary a backward glance – has been clear that a no-deal Brexit should in no circumstances be countenanced.

Which begs the question: if a no-Brexit would have the horrific consequences he forecasts, why not support the only other option which looks like offering a viable alternative, and support the growing momentum for a People’s Vote?