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Theresa May brushes aside speculation of impending vote of no confidence

Protestors in Westminster the morning after Theresa May deferred the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal Picture by Kirsty O'Connor/PA
By Press Association Political Staff

Theresa May has brushed aside speculation of an impending vote of no confidence in her as prime minister, insisting she is focusing on securing reassurances from EU leaders about her Brexit deal.

After calling off a parliamentary vote on the deal planned for Tuesday, Mrs May spent the day in talks with fellow leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte of the Netherlands.

She said she had found a "shared determination" to address MPs' concerns about the proposed backstop arrangement for the Irish border in order to allow the deal to be brought back to the House of Commons and ratified.

Downing Street announced that the motion on the Brexit deal will come back to the Commons "before January 21", with MPs expected to complete the final two days of debate before the momentous vote.

But Mrs May's decision to delay the vote has sparked a fresh wave of speculation at Westminster about new letters of no confidence being submitted by Conservative MPs to the chair of the backbench 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady.

After reports that some members of the European Research Group of eurosceptic Tory MPs were claiming that enough letters had been submitted to trigger a vote, Mrs May was asked whether she had been told the threshold of 48 letters had been reached.

She replied: "No, I have been here in Europe dealing with the issue I have promised parliament I would be dealing with."

Mrs May added: "Whatever outcome we want, whatever relationship we want with the European Union in future, there is no deal available that doesn't have a backstop within it.

"But we don't want the backstop to be used and if it is want to be certain it is only temporary.

"It is those assurances that I will be seeking from fellow leaders over the coming days.

"I have seen a shared determination to deal with this issue."

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