May falters as chance of passing deal fades

As the number of Tory and DUP MPs who say they will vote down the deal passes 87, May's chance of passing the transitional agreement appears dead in the water.

In a serious blow for the PM, more than half of Tory backbenchers are now believed to oppose the government's negotiated settlement with the European Union, making the likelihood of Theresa May's Brexit deal passing the House of Commons next to nil.

Conservative and DUP MPs are furious about the so called 'backstop arrangement', which would keep Northern Ireland aligned with some EU customs rules to prevent a hard-border in Ireland, but this Unionists view this as undermining the constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom.

In comments to the House this evening, the DUP's Nigel Dodds said the backstop "was bad for the United Kingdom and bad for the economy", while Tory backbencher Mark Francois labelled it "as dead as a dodo".

May was also forced to walk back her remarks about EU migrants "jumping the queue" to move to the UK, telling the House "I should not have used that language in that speech. The point I was making was a simple one … I think there was a point that for most people here in the United Kingdom, they want to see people coming to this country with the skills and wanting to make a contribution[...]her husband has made a contribution as a GP here in this country."

The PM also refused to say if there was any 'Plan B' if her deal were to fall, and ruled out a Norway style agreement which would keep the entire UK in the EU's Customs and Market arrangements.

Jeremy Corbyn has also made clear that Labour will oppose the deal, commenting:“This is a bad deal for the country. It is the result of a miserable failure of negotiation that leaves us with the worst of all worlds. It gives us less say over our future, and puts jobs and living standards at risk."

“That is why Labour will oppose this deal in parliament. We will work with others to block a no deal outcome, and ensure that Labour’s alternative plan for a sensible deal to bring the country together is on the table."

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