'DUP and Tory rebels have poured cold water over a “desperate” compromise bid to win over MPs to Theresa May’s Brexit deal, ahead of a Commons showdown which threatens her leadership and her government.
Backbench Tories tabled an amendment to next week’s meaningful vote that would give MPs some control over the Irish backstop, a controversial insurance policy which aims to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Under the plans – which are said to be sanctioned by Downing Street – parliament would decide whether to trigger the backstop arrangement or extend the transition period beyond December 2020.
However Brexiteers also dismissed the plans as “desperate” and DUP leader Arlene Foster rejected the proposal outright, saying domestic “tinkering” to the withdrawal agreement would not persuade her party’s 10 MPs back the government – casting further doubt on Ms May’s ability to win the vote.
The amendment was tabled by former minister Sir Hugo Swire, backbench MPs Richard Graham and Bob Neill on Thursday night, only hours after the prime minister indicated parliament would choose between entering the backstop or prolonging the transition period after exit day.
The backstop plan is loathed by Brexiteers, who believe it keeps the UK too closely tied to Brussels, while Ms May insists it is only an insurance policy as the government plans to secure a trade deal before the backstop is needed.
Mr Graham, who sits on the Brexit Committee, said the backstop “was and remains the thing that gives colleagues the most concern”.'
Read more: Brexit deal in chaos as DUP and Tory rebels derail Theresa May’s ‘desperate’ bid to win over MPs
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