Boris Johnson has issued a final rallying call to MPs to back his EU Withdrawal Agreement as rebels plot an amendment that could push Brexit back until the new year to avoid an accidental no-deal.
Number 10 is working desperately to secure a Commons majority for the deal struck by Mr Johnson in Brussels, but a lack of widespread support from opposition parties means the vote is on a knife edge.
The government has been holding discussions with some Labour MPs in an attempt to get the 320 votes needed, and the prime minister has urged colleagues to back the deal and free the country “from the never-ending Brexit saga”.
Writing in The Sun, Mr Johnson insisted his agreement was a “great deal for every part of our country” and an opportunity to bring to an end a “difficult, divisive, painful chapter in our history”.
Several members of the cabinet have joined the PM on a newspaper charm offensive, with Michael Gove in The Times warning that “divisions will only grow deeper in our society” if the deal fails to go through.
Home Secretary Priti Patel and Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom, who both voted against Brexit agreements put forward by Theresa May, have sung the praises of the new deal in The Daily Telegraph and Daily Express.
But even if the agreement does get through during a rare Saturday Commons session, it may come with an amendment that could see MPs withhold their support until the Brexit legislation has been safely approved.
If selected by Speaker John Bercow, the amendment proposed by Sir Oliver Letwin would trigger the Benn Act introduced by MPs opposed to a no-deal – and it would compel the PM to request a delay until the end of January. – Sky News.