Boris Johnson opts against emulating Geoffrey Howe in his resignation speech

The cabinet deal was then undermined by the resignations of Brexit minister David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

6pm 1922 Committee - This influential group of Tory backbench MPs can be vocal and hard for their leaders.

One Conservative lawmaker told Reuters the party whips whose job it is to enforce discipline in parliament, had threatened to call a confidence vote in May if she lost - a move that could bring down the government.

"Mr Davies said he had been contacted with concerns about the Prime Minister's Chequers plan for a "common rulebook" with the European Union on sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing".

In a clear sign that plans are accelerating to cover the negotiations collapsing, the Prime Minister said the technical notices would tell firms and individuals what to do "in the event of a no-deal scenario".

"We have time in these negotiations".

The prime minister herself was absent, as she was giving evidence to MPs on the Commons liaison committee, where she faced a tough grilling from Brexit hardliners.

The prospect of continued drama in parliament and doubts over the future of May's "white paper" Brexit plan-which is itself only a starting point for talks with the European Union - is testing the patience of businesses that depend on cross-border trade.

He also explained why he rebelled again in last night's vote on membership of a customs union with the EU, a vote that the government had expected to lose but won narrowly.


"We must try now because we will not get another chance to do it right", he said.

Mr Johnson's resignation speech was touted in advance as potentially the most damaging since another former foreign secretary, Geoffrey Howe, undermined Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

Reacting to the defeat of New Clause 18, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade Barry Gardiner commented: "The government's handling of Brexit over the past week has been an utter shambles".

But her plan so far has pleased few on both sides, compounding divisions within the Conservative Party that have so far frustrated progress in talks with the European Union, and triggering a war of words between eurosceptic and pro-EU factions.

In latest opinion polls UKIP has gained several points after its support collapsed in last June's snap general election which led to May losing her majority in the House of Commons.

And Wes Streeting, a supporter of the People's Vote campaign for a second referendum, said: "Boris Johnson's speech was a total damp squib".

"Problem is, I don't think she's in charge any more".

'If 48 such letters are sent a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister amongst Conservative MPs will take place.

While the House of Commons debates these texts, the European Commission is analyzing the plan for future trade and customs relations it received from the United Kingdom government, the survival of which depends largely on the response from Brussels.


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