Theresa May is set to head to Brussels today in an attempt to renegotiate a Brexit deal that EU leaders have said is final, after surviving yesterday’s vote of confidence.
The Prime Minister won the vote with a majority of 83 votes, with 200 Tory Mps voting in support and 117 voting to oust the Tory leader.
Sterling steadied as May made her way to Brussels, rising to 1.267 against the dollar after hitting a 20-month low earlier this week.
May said after the vote that it was time to “get on with the job of delivering Brexit for the British people”, but will reportedly only get 10 minutes with EU leaders to push for a deal that might pass muster with parliament.
There is “very little appetite indeed for anything legally binding”, an anonymous senior Brussels diplomat told the Telegraph.
Parliament will get a vote on May’s deal by 21 January, after the Prime Minister pulled a vote due earlier this week after it appeared highly unlikely that she would receive the support required.
MPs have reacted with anger to the draft withdrawal agreement, which stipulates that the UK will enter a temporary customs union with the EU to avoid a hard border in Ireland, but does not allow the UK to quit that arrangement of its own accord.
Meanwhile, EU leaders have quashed suggestions that Brexit can be changed in any fundamental way, with both European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk speaking out against that possibility.
The Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament said in a statement that May’s agreement was “the only deal possible”.
“The Conference reconfirmed its view that the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration are fair and balanced and represent, given EU principles, current UK red lines and the commitments set out in the Good Friday Agreement, the only deal possible to ensure an orderly withdrawal from the European Union,” it said.
“It stressed that renegotiating the backstop was not possible since it is the guarantee that in whatever circumstances there could be no hardening of the border on the island of Ireland. The Conference reiterated that without a backstop parliament would not give its consent to the withdrawal agreement.”
It comes as Iain Duncan Smith, whose office City A.M. yesterday revealed was co-ordinating the plan to oust May, urged May to tell the EU "if you want a deal you'd better damn well step up to the plate" in comments made to Sky News.
Meanwhile Jacob Rees-Mogg, who put in a letter of no confidence in against the Prime Minister last month, told Sky that she should resign “as soon as the Queen has a moment in her diary to see her”.
Meanwhile, shadow chancellor John McDonnell told ITV’s Peston: “We will just have to judge what she comes back with on Sunday night, Monday morning, see what the statement is in the House of Commons on Monday and take a proper judgement then.”