THERESA May’s eleventh hour Brexit talks could be plunged into chaos again if Tory hardliners carry out a threat to defeat her in the Commons.
A 50-strong group of Eurosceptics vowed to withdraw their support for the PM in a symbolic vote to endorse two more weeks of negotiations.
They are furious with the wording of No10’s motion, claiming it endorses Parliament’s close vote two weeks ago against carrying out Brexit without a deal.
Senior figures in the European Research Group accused Mrs May of entering into a secret pact with Remainer Tory rebels to end their own revolt this week by quietly pushing no deal off the table.
A leading ERG source told The Sun: “She has done a deal with the Remainers to get their votes.
“That’s why the Chief Whip refused to reword the motion when we pleaded with him. It’s unacceptable.”
But Downing hit back to insist leaving in just 43 days time without a deal remains a possibility unless MPs backed Mrs May’s agreement.
The PM’s official spokesman added: “No deal is an eventuality that we wish to avoid, but we continue to plan for.”
A No10 source claimed that the ERG rebellion was intended as “a show of force” because the group is angry that the PM is still yet to take on board its ‘alternative arrangements’ proposal for a different Irish backstop.
‘TIME IS RUNNING OUT’
The new row exposes just how thin the tightrope is that the PM is walking to keep the two warring tribes of her party together.
A failure to command a Commons majority risks destroying the PM’s negotiating hand in Brussels.
EU chiefs may wrap up delicate talks on improving the deal unless Mrs May can prove it could pass through Parliament.
Donald Tusk turned up the pressure on Mrs May after being briefed by the EU’s negotiator Michel Barnier on his talks with the Brexit Secretary this week.
The EU Council president tweeted: “No news is not always good news. EU27 still waiting for concrete, realistic proposals from London on how to break #Brexit impasse”.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte also warned: “Time is running out. The ball is in London’s court”.
The ERG will meet to decide whether to vote against the Government or just abstain.
Both mean defeat is likely, with few pro-Brexit Labour MPs expected to be ready to bail out Mrs May.
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Its deputy chair Mark Francois added: “We can’t vote for the motion, as it means voting against the Government’s own policy.
“You cannot rule out no deal at this critical stage in the negotiations.”
At the same time, Mrs May’s de facto deputy Cabinet Office minister David Lidington held talks with a group of Remainer ministers in a bid to ensure they no longer plan to rebel as well.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte also warned Britain is running out of time[/caption]
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