Brexit: Tory rebels tell Theresa May they'll back her deal if she agrees to go

Theresa May faces intense pressure to set out plans for her departure amid a last gasp bid to get her Brexit deal through.

Mutinous Tory MPs will tell the embattled Prime Minister to announce a timetable for quitting or else her divorce plan is dead.

Ahead of a showdown at a meeting of the Tory 1922 committee, a weakened Mrs May was desperately clinging to getting her deal through.

MPs will vote on alternative ways forward on Brexit moments after her crunch appearance.

Government insiders struggling to see a way through predicted the chaos could end up in a general election. 

But Tory Brexiteers’ opposition to the PM’s plan started to crumble as leading eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg reluctantly fell into line.

Boris Johnson has edged closer to backing the PM’s deal


Boris Johnson was also edging towards backing the deal – although he signalled he would only do so if she agreed to go. 

MPs believe Mrs May will make a final plea for her twice defeated deal and gamble everything on a third vote on Thursday.

Top Downing Street officials were debating whether there was any point in the PM making the ultimate sacrifice.

They were frantically doing the numbers on whether it would deliver enough votes to help her plan scrape through.

Eurosceptic MPs have called for a departure date as their price for their support – and so they can pick a new leader for the next stage.

One senior Brexiteer told the Mirror: “If she sets out a timetable it would not just be welcome, it would be greeted by cheers and celebrations on a scale not seen since the Royal Wedding.

Even leading eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg reluctantly fell into line


“It’d make a huge difference to many. I don’t know if it gets the deal over the line. But if she doesn’t, she doesn’t stand a chance.”

Tory MP Tim Loughton added: “If she can leave having achieved that deal and pass on the baton to somebody else to negotiate, then I think she can leave with her head held high. It is a tragedy that it has come to that.”

MPs will tonight debate other Brexit options, including a Norway-Plus style plan or free trade deal, before deciding on their favourite.

A soft Brexit is considered the most likely outcome, but Mrs May has said she cannot promise to abide by the result. 

She could fatally split her party if she agreed to a customs union, as it would prevent the UK from striking independent trade deals. 

One Government insider said: “If we end up with a customs union, she will go a general election. Everybody is talking about it”.

Speaker John Bercow must choose from a series of MPs’ amendments, which could shape the next chapter of Brexit

The votes pitched the PM into a race against time to get her deal passed this week, before MPs settled on another option on Monday.

Tory MPs have not yet been told whether they will be allowed a free vote on Sir Oliver Letwin’s indicative votes plan.

Mrs May has been warned there could be as many as 20 resignations from the junior ranks of Government if she does not. 

But sources said four key Remainer cabinet rebels including welfare secretary Amber Rudd and justice secretary David Gauke will not.

It comes after Tory backbench chief Sir Graham Brady visited No 10 yesterday amid rumours he was warning that her time was up.

The PM’s top team are said to have split into different factions with her chief-of-staff, Gavin Barwell, pushing a plan to pivot to a softer Brexit with her staying in post until Christmas.

Sources said a second faction, led by communications chief Robbie Gibb, thinks getting the deal through is worth the price of her departure.

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Downing Street’s plan to threaten eurosceptics with the prospect of Brexit not happening at all seemed to be paying off.

Hardline Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who had said the withdrawal deal left the UK “a slave state”, indicated he would finally back it.

He admitted: “I’ve always thought that No Deal is better than Mrs May’s deal. But Mrs May’s deal is better than not leaving at all.”

Later, Boris Johnson gave a clear hint that he would back the PM. 

“If we vote it down again there is an appreciable and growing sense that we will not leave at all. That is the risk,” he said. 

He signalled he would only do so if a Canada-style free trade deal was on the table – which would mean a new Tory leader. 

But Downing Street’s hopes were dealt a heavy blow when the hardline DUP said they could not back the plan. 

The Northern Irish party’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, dismissed it as a “toxic deal” and attacked the “referendum defying Remainer hoard in Parliament”.

Indicative votes: The options…

Options tabled by MPs, which Speaker John Bercow could choose for debate and votes, include:

  • Revoking Article 50 and scrapping Brexit if Parliament has not agreed a deal and votes to rule out no-deal, tabled by SNP Joanna Cherry and with cross-party.
  • Having a referendum on any deal agreed by Parliament, suggested by Labour backbenchers Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson.
  • Claiming membership of the European Economic area and applying to join the European Free Trade Association, but refusing a customs union and Irish Backstop, put forward by Tory former Minister George Eustice.
  • Staying in the single market and customs union, dubbed Common Market 2.0, put forward by Tory ex-minister Nick Boles and Labour backbencher Stephen Kinnock.

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