Theresa May will make a statement to MPs on Monday afternoon following reports she has cancelled Tuesday’s crunch vote on her Brexit deal.
The prime minister had been on course for a heavy defeat tomorrow evening, amid deep hostility to her plan.
Bloomberg first reported on Monday morning that May had decided to delay the vote, as she held an emergency conference call with cabinet ministers.
Downing Street had moments earlier earlier insisted the vote was “going ahead as planned”.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove told the BBC this morning the vote would take place. As did Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who said it was “100% happening”.
May is due to address MPs at 3.30pm. Her statement is due to be followed by a statement from the Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who would have to formally get the vote pulled.
More than 100 Tory backbenchers had signalled they would not support the deal, as had May’s Northern Irish DUP allies. Labour is also opposed.
Jeremy Corbyn said a decision to delay the vote showed the UK does not “have a functioning government”.
Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the DUP, said the decision was “a bit of a humiliation”.
Steve Baker, a leading backbench Brexiteer Tory, said cancelling the vote was “essentially a defeat” for the PM’s deal. “This isn’t the mark of a stable government or a strong plan,” he tweeted.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has challenged Corbyn to table a motion of no confidence in the government.
Losing the vote could well have cost May her leadership of the party – as senior Tories jostled for position over the weekend in anticipation of a possible contest to replace her.
Boris Johnson, Esther McVey, Dominic Raab and Gove have all publicly failed to rule out leadership bids.
The sense of crisis has heightened expectations that the 48 letters required to trigger a confidence vote could be submitted to the Tory backbench 1922 Committee this week.