Further pressure has been heaped on the Prime Minister, with Boris Johnson refusing to rule out a leadership challenge and Labour vowing to work with other parties in a move that could oust Mrs May if she crashes to defeat. Reports had suggested the Prime Minister could delay the vote and make an emergency dash to Brussels before a planned summit on Thursday in a desperate effort to secure concessions to win over critics of her much-criticised plan. But Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay has insisted the vote will go ahead as planned on Tuesday.
In a last-ditch effort to rally support, Theresa May warned Tory rebels the country would be in “uncharted waters” if her deal is voted down, and Jeremy Corbyn gaining power “is a risk we cannot afford to take”.
In one last stand of defiance, she told the Mail on Sunday: “It would mean grave uncertainty for the nation with a very real risk of no Brexit or leaving the European Union with no deal.
“We have a leader of the Opposition who thinks of nothing but attempting to bring about a general election, no matter what the cost to the country.
“As someone who cares passionately about my country and my party, I believe Jeremy Corbyn getting his hands on power is a risk we cannot afford to take.”
On Saturday, Tory MP Will Quince quit as a ministerial aide to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in protest at Mrs May’s Brexit deal.
Brexiteer Penny Mordaunt said she was considering whether to back the deal or resign but added although she has not yet thrown her support behind it, she still supports the Prime Minister.
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said he would back the deal, but warned unless it is passed quickly, he would support a second referendum as the original decision to Leave may “no longer represent a reflection of current intent”.
Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd suggested a Norway-plus deal that would keep the UK in the single market and customs union could be a “plausible” alternative if Mrs May’s plan is rejected.
In a further blow to the Prime Minister, Labour has vowed to work with other parties to decide whether to attempt to oust her if her Brexit deal fails.
According to shadow Cabinet ministers, they could either look to force a general election or form a minority government led by Jeremy Corbyn – as early as Wednesday morning.
Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Our preferred option, very, very strongly, is that we refresh the Parliament though we are ready to form a minority government should that be necessary – and it could happen on Wednesday morning – and to begin to reset the negotiation and take the country forward in a much better direction.”
Mrs May is also facing a fight to maintain her grip on power, with Boris Johnson once again refusing to rule out challenging her for the Tory leadership.
The former foreign Secretary claimed it was “nonsense” to suggest he had already started offering jobs to fellow Tories in a future administration led by him.
But he sidestepped the leadership question on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, and when asked to give an “absolute, categorical promise” that he would not stand against her, he said: “I will give you an absolute, categorical promise that I will continue to advocate what I think is the most sensible plan.”
Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who quit his role last month, told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I’ve said I would never rule it out.”
But he added “it would be very self-indulgent to be engaging in all that speculation when we’ve got such a big issue up for decision on Tuesday”.
Tory MP Dominic Grieve warned the continued divisions caused by Brexit could even see the party split, and would not be able to “continue in its current form”.
The Brexiteer and former Attorney General, who has rebelled against the government over Brexit in the Commons, played down the idea of Tory MPs forming a new party but expressed concern for the future.
He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “There is a risk the party will split and cannot continue in its current form.
“But there’s also an irony behind this that if you get Brexiteer and Remainer Conservative MPs together in a room and you can avoid Brexit you’ll immediately realise that they agree on a very large number of things.
“I don’t see members of the Conservative Party going off and setting up some new party.”