Ministers dispatched across the UK to sell May's deal to a Brexit-weary Britain

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Angus Walker

The prime minister has sent out 30 ministers across the country in a last ditch attempt to sell her Brexit deal to the country.

Brexit secretary Stephan Barclay was touring an engineering firm in Peterborough where he was hoping to build support for the prime minister's Withdrawal Agreement.

He told ITV News: "What's really coming through in constituencies like this in Peterborough is the strong view of business that they want the certainty of the deal, and that they don't want the uncertainty of no-deal or no-Brexit."

But this was not the view echoed by the local Conservative chairman Wayne Fitzgerald who dismissed the MPs' efforts as a "waste of time and effort".

"Frankly, it's just a hiding to nothing. This deal will not go through," he told ITV News.

MPs are due to vote on December 11 on Mrs May's Brexit agreement amid strong opposition from inside and outside her own party.

Stephen Barclay visited the Midlands on Friday to attempt to sell Mrs May's deal to businesses. Credit: ITV News

Mr Barclay later visited a motorcycle factory in Leicestershire, where both the media and the local Tory MP - a vocal critic of Mrs May - were not invited.

Andrew Bridgen dismissed these the frantic efforts by MPs to whip up support for the seemingly doomed deal as a "Showaddywaddy comeback tour".

He told ITV News: "They didn't even tell me the site of the visit. They were keeping that secret. They don't want a debate".

But other MPs are more open to a debate. Tory MP Heidi Allen - who voted Remain in the June 2016 vote - recently hosted a Brexit meeting in south Cambridgeshire.

A large portion of Ms Allen's constituents at the meeting said they would prefer to stay in the EU and are hoping for a second referendum.

Andrew Bridgen was not invited to join Stephen Barclay on a visit to a motorcycle factory. Credit: ITV News

"They have the same concerns as I do, I guess, around its uncertainty. They would very passionately want to be asked the question again and have a People's Vote," Ms Allen told ITV News.

Even among Brexit supporters, Mrs May's deal got short shrift.

One Leave voter told ITV News: "She's not going to make people change their mind. In fact all she's doing is annoying people. She's annoying me. I don't want to hear her anymore. I'm sick of the sight of the woman."

And it is not just the British public who remain divided over Brexit.

Divisions within Mrs May's own party continued to cause ruptures, with Priti Patel, the former intentional development secretary today appearing to suggest threatening Ireland with food shortages in order to get a better Brexit deal, comments unlikely to help the Prime Minister's cause.

These people would like to stay in the EU. Credit: ITV News

Her comments came after government analysis, leaked to The Times, suggested that Ireland would suffer greater economic damage than the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit.

Ms Patel's remarks were branded deeply inappropriate and insensitive by other MPs given Ireland’s history of famine.

One million people died during the country’s Great Famine between 1845 and 1849.

Meanwhile, a poll commissioned by The Times found that 55% of those surveyed in Northern Ireland would support the reunification of Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland, should the UK leave the EU under the terms of Mrs May's Brexit deal.

While the responses of unionists and nationalists varied greatly in the poll, 27% of unionists were in favour of reunification.

With just four days until MPs vote on the prime minister's deal in the House of Commons, it appears the British people are running out of patience just as Mrs May is running out of time.