Theresa May will come out fighting in a Sky News interview, hitting back at Tory MPs bidding to remove her and cabinet ministers demanding a better Brexit deal.
Under more scrutiny and pressure than ever before, the prime minister will be appear on Sophy Ridge On Sunday at the start of a week, which if it goes wrong for her, could see her lose her job.
Mrs May is under attack on three fronts:
- Tory backbenchers led by the European Research Group’s Jacob Rees-Mogg claim they are close to securing the 48 MPs required to trigger a vote of no confidence.
- Five pro-Brexit cabinet ministers led by the Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom are demanding that she goes back to Brussels to get a better deal on leaving the European Union.
- And Dominic Raab, who quit as Brexit secretary on Thursday, has accused the prime minister of failing to stand up to a bullying European Union over the Brexit deal.
In what will be seen as a challenge to the PM’s authority, Mrs Leadsom told Sky News: There is still more to be done and we do still have more time before the EU Council at the end of the month.
So I’m absolutely committed to getting the Brexit that 17.4 million people voted for.
But writing in the Sun on Sunday ahead of appearing on Sky News, Mrs May bluntly slapped down her cabinet colleague and insisted there is no more that can be done to get a better deal.
There is no alternative plan on the table, she wrote. There is no different approach that we could agree with the EU.
The course I have set is the right one for our country and the only one that will work.
The path before us is not easy, but with determination and hard work, I know we can deliver a deal in the national interest.
Mr Raab, interviewed in The Sunday Times, claimed: If we cannot close this deal on reasonable terms we need to be very honest with the country that we will not be bribed and blackmailed or bullied and we will walk away.
I think there is one thing that is missing and that is political will and resolve. I am not sure that message has ever landed.
Only one person, the 1922 Committee chairman Sir Graham Brady, knows just how many Tory MPs have written to him demanding a vote.
But more MPs are going public about calling for Mrs May to go because of her Brexit policy, with Zac Goldsmith becoming the latest to announce he has written to Sir Graham.
Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, he said that under the PM’s plan in effect, Britain would remain in the EU, but without having any say.
He added: Had that been the choice, I personally would have voted to Remain.
The withdrawal agreement we have been presented with is unacceptable to Leave and Remain voters alike.
It has close to zero chance of making it through parliament and with only five months remaining, we cannot afford to waste any more time on it.
Earlier, Tory MP Simon Clarke told Sky News: I think that a new leader is required to bring about that change of policy. I think there is still time for one final attempt to bring about a better deal.
If that isn’t the case we need to be preparing with the intensity and the urgency for no-deal, which frankly the government has not shown during the course of the last year, which it should have shown.
I know when I see a policy which has become so inextricable form the person that the two can no longer be divorced and we’re deluding ourselves frankly if we think otherwise – it’s time for a new approach.
And as Labour steps up campaigning in marginal seats like Mansfield, Jeremy Corbyn – who will also be interviewed on Sophy Ridge On Sunday – and his closest allies are on the attack too.
We’re saying to the government: ‘Get real, you’ve got to get real’, the shadow chancellor John McDonnell told Sky News.
Theresa May needs to wake up to the fact that her deal will not go through parliament. We know that now. At the same time, no-deal is not an option, because parliament won’t support it. So we’ve got to have proper negotiations. If she can’t do it, we can do it.
There is good news for Mrs May, however, in a ComRes poll for the Sunday Express and Sunday Mirror suggesting 47% of voters think she should remain as prime minister until after Brexit, while 31% think she should resign and 53% don’t want a second referendum.
But the same survey – and another poll by Opinium in The Observer – also suggest support for the Conservatives has fallen and they are trailing Labour after the turmoil of the past few days.
:: Watch the prime minister and Jeremy Corbyn on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday at 9am.