Two south Hertfordshire MPs were among cabinet ministers who defied government orders to reject a motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit.

Watford MP Richard Harrington and South West Hertfordshire MP David Gauke abstained on a government motion saying the UK should not leave the UK specifically on March 29, but with the option of no deal at a later date.

Mr Harrington, who is business minister, and Mr Gauke, Justice Secretary, were among 13 ministers to defy the whip. Work and pensions minister Sarah Newton voted against the motion and resigned from the cabinet.

Both Mr Harrington and Mr Gauke previously voted against a compromise from Tory minister Kit Malthouse, a failed amendment to delay Brexit until May 22 and then leave with a 'managed no-deal', and against a successful amendment put forward by Labour MP Yvette Cooper ruling out a no-deal Brexit at any time, which was passed by 312 votes to 308.

Votes by other MPs show the different shades of opinion even among Conservatives.

Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning voted against the Government motion, for the Malthouse compromise, and against Yvette Cooper's motion.

Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami abstained on both the Government motion and the Malthouse compromise, and against Yvette Cooper's motion.

St Albans MP Anne Main, a Brexit supporter, voted against the Government motion, abstained on the Malthouse compromise, and against Yvette Cooper's motion.

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden, a parliamentary secretary at the Cabinet Office who opposes a no-deal Brexit, voted the same way.

MPs will vote today on whether to delay Brexit until June 30, although the Government says this will only happen if MPs back the Governments deal by March 20 - next Wednesday.

Watford's Labour parliamentary candidate said Mr Harrington, who had voted for the Prime Minister's updated deal on Tuesday, should resign.

He said: "He promised to vote to block a no deal Brexit, but all he could do was abstain. Watford deserves better. This government is in chaos. They have failed on Brexit and they are failing the country. It's time for a general election."

Mr Harrington has been approached for comment.