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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May reportedly facing threat of mass Tory rebellion to prevent no-deal Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May is facing threats from her own party benches. Credit: PA

Theresa May is reportedly facing the prospect of up to 100 of her own MPs, including 25 ministers, rebelling against her if she cannot secure a Brexit deal ahead of crunch votes expected on Wednesday.

The Daily Telegraph reports the Conservative MPs want Brexit to be delayed rather than face a no-deal scenario, with the Guardian claiming 25 of those could be from Mrs May's own Cabinet.

The Brexit Delivery Group, which represents both Remain and Leave MPs, is calling for a free vote in the Commons next week on a backbench move to take no deal off the table.

A letter sent on behalf of the group to chief whip Julian Smith states many MPs are "deeply troubled" at the prospect of a no-deal, according to the Telegraph.

It also states numerous MPs are willing to support amendments which would rule out a no deal Brexit.

Chuka Umunna is being backed to lead The Independent Group. Credit: PA

The rebellion comes as one of the three MPs to quit the Tories for the newly formed The Independent Group backed former Labour MP Chuka Umunna as the "obvious" candidate to lead them.

Heidi Allen made the comments to the Daily Telegraph amid rumours that more politicians were willing to quit their respective parties to join the three former Tories and eight former Labour MPs.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox meanwhile announced they will hold talks again with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in the coming days on the Northern Ireland backstop.

Mrs May will travel to an EU-Arab summit in Egypt this Sunday but Government sources have been keen to dampen talk of a “deal in the desert”, the PM is expected to have meetings with EU leaders on the sidelines of the gathering.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay will hold more talks with Michel Barnier Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

After talks in Brussels on Thursday, Mr Barclay said both sides had agreed discussions should continue “urgently at a technical level”.

The PM believes that securing legally binding guarantees on the backstop is key to getting her Withdrawal Agreement through the Commons.

The backstop arrangements would see the whole of the UK remain in a customs union with the EU and Northern Ireland following some single market rules until a wider trade deal is agreed, in order to prevent the need for checkpoints on the Irish border.

Credit: PA Graphics