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Theresa May bids to save her Brexit deal but loses more MPs' support

(c) Sky News 2019: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/theresa-may-bids-to-save-her-brexit-deal-but-loses-more-mps-support-11725723">Theresa May bids to save her Brexit deal but loses more MPs' support</a>
 

Theresa May has launched a last-ditch bid to save her Brexit deal, but ended up losing more MPs' support.

The prime minister unveiled a 10-point plan to "seek common ground in parliament", including giving MPs another vote on a second referendum and giving the Commons a bigger say in the next step of negotiations with Brussels.

In what could be her last major speech on leaving the EU , she admitted it was "patently obvious" she had not managed to end the Conservatives' battle over Europe and appeared to acknowledge her departure from Downing Street was imminent.

Bidding to win over wavering Labour MPs, she announced new workers' rights and environmental protections would be built into the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) .

That is the piece of legislation that would pave the way for a Brexit deal becoming law.

She also promised a customs union compromise and a commitment to finding a way to replace the Northern Irish backstop by the end of 2020.

The backstop has been one of the most controversial parts of her deal that would ensure no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

But her plea to MPs to back the WAB when parliament votes on it in June was dismissed instantly by Labour, Conservative backbenchers and the government's confidence and supply partners - the DUP.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the Tory Brexiteer lobbying group known as the European Research Group, called the proposals "worse than before" and pushed for a no-deal divorce from the EU.

He and multiple other MPs who say they reluctantly backed Mrs May deal at the second or third vote in parliament suggested they would withdraw their support next time.

One called Mrs May's speech "f****** awful" and predicted to Sky News she would be on course for a defeat of 150 votes.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn confirmed that unless the PM gave more concessions, his party would not support the deal.

He said there was no substantive movement on a customs union, consumer rights and food standards.

Mr Corbyn added there was a "question of the deliverability of it" given Mrs May was likely to be replaced soon.

Quizzed on her future at the speech at PWC in central London on Tuesday, Mrs May said questions about who would replace her now she has promised to name a departure date after the WAB vote was "last week's news".

She refused to answer Sky News' question about whether she wanted to see a Brexiteer get the keys to Number 10 Downing Street to help ease the Conservatives' infighting.

Britain is on course to leave the EU with no-deal on 31 October, or earlier if parliament ratifies a deal before then.

The Tory leadership race has unofficially kicked off, but is expected to begin properly when Mrs May says when she plans to step down.

It was touched on by the prime minister in her speech, when she said in a moment of personal reflection that "I offered to give up the job I love earlier than I would like".