MPs to grill Theresa May on Brexit deal as she braces for leadership challenge
Theresa May will attempt to sell her Brexit deal to MPs this morning - as her Tory critics step up their attempts to remove her from Downing Street.
The Prime Minister will make a statement to the Commons after her Cabinet reluctantly backed the draft withdrawal agreement she has struck with Brussels.
But speculation is mounting that enough letters of no confidence in her performance could be submitted by angry Tory MPs, setting in train a chan of event which could lead to a full-blown leadership contest.
One Conservative sources told PoliticsHome: "If you're in a car and it's heading for a wall, it makes sense to change driver before it gets there."
Mrs May last night told the country that "difficult days lie ahead" after a marathon five-hour Cabinet meeting during which a third of her top team spoke out against the deal she has struck with Brussels
Under the plan, the UK will remain in a customs union with the EU as a way of avoiding a hard Irish border until a future trade deal can be agreed.
However, Northern Ireland will also have to stay in parts of the EU single market, thereby tying it closer to Brussels than the rest of the country.
And the "temporary" customs arrangement will only come to an end with the agreement of Brussels, meaning the UK cannot unilaterally walk away from the set-up.
The draft agreement does allow the UK to extend the post-Brexit implementation period - which is due to run until the end of 2020 - on a one-off basis, but the 585-page document does not specify how long that could potentially last for.
Tory Brexiteer Conor Burns last night told Sky News: "I have consistently said we don’t want to change the PM, we want to change the policy of the PM.
"However there comes a point where if the PM is insistent that she will not change the policy, then the only way to change the policy is to change the personnel.”
However, PoliticsHome understands that the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers is not formally organising any coup at this stage.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the group's chair, last night called on Tory MPs to vote against Mrs May's deal, but did not say that she should be replaced as leader.