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Brexit: No 10 plans to stand firm as PM's future unclear

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As the prime minister made her way to PMQs, some of her own cabinet ministers were meeting privately just around the corner from the Commons chamber - her deal and her future undoubtedly on the agenda.Meanwhile, Conservatives I spoke to commented on Theresa May's position with a mixture of sympathy and derision. One long-standing Brexiteer described PMQs as her leaving party.Another Leaver simply muttered tersely that it was "grim", while a Remainer, who had been prepared to back her deal, mulled "why is she putting herself through any more of thisA long-standing - but not usually a very public - critic likened me to a spectator at the guillotine as I stalked the commons corridors. I asked him when he felt the political blade would fall on Theresa May's premiership.
With a smile, he said: "Soon - very soon."
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What happens next?
Has PM's 'new deal' made things worse?
Inside Downing Street there is a recognition that there will be an attempt to oust Theresa May before her Brexit deal gets as far as a vote. But the intention is to stand firm and push on.There is an understanding of how difficult it will be.Without her mentioning a referendum yesterday, her legislation just would not have got a hearing from many Labour MPs - and opposition votes are required if the deal is to go through.But it appears that supporters of a referendum believe there is more chance of a public vote if it is in stark contrast to no deal, close to the end of October deadline.
One last chance to get Brexit done, says PM
Has time run out for another referendum?
If a referendum vote is held now, alongside her deal, there is a risk it is lost - so there is no incentive to back the deal now.So the hope in Downing Street is that the European elections are abysmally bad for Labour, too - and some of the opposition MPs come onside subsequently to at least get Brexit done and lance the populist boil.The question, though, is whether the prime minister's own MPs will allow her to stay in office long enough to put this to the test.
Some supporters of Boris Johnson are considering gathering 157 letters of no confidence to show that half her parliamentary party want her to go quickly, irrespective of the leadership rules.
Theresa May
Brexit
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