Theresa May to hold crisis talks with Angela Merkel as she battles to gain support for her Brexit deal
Theresa May will hold crisis Brexit talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a bid to gain reassurances on her exit deal.
The move follows a day of high drama at Westminster which saw the Prime Minister cancel a crucial vote on the plans.
Mrs May is also set to meet Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on Tuesday ahead of a crunch EU summit later this week.
She was forced to abandon the Commons vote as the scale of opposition to her proposals threatened a crushing defeat.
Downing Street was unable to give any indication of when the vote will now be held. It said the date would depend on how quickly Mrs May is able to secure the assurances which will satisfy MPs.
The Prime Minister’s planned talks with Mrs Merkel and Mr Rutte on Tuesday mean the usual Cabinet meeting will be held later in the week.
They come as she faces intense pressure to make amendments to the deal, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn saying she should step down if she fails to do so.
More than 50 Labour MPs and peers wrote to Mr Corbyn urging him to call a vote of no confidence in Mrs May as Prime Minister.
Nicola Sturgeon and Sir Vince Cable assured him that the SNP and Liberal Democrats will back him if he does.
But Labour made clear it will hold back on a confidence motion until after Mrs May returns to the Commons with whatever assurances she secures from EU leaders.
"We will put down a motion of no confidence when we judge it most likely to be successful," said a Labour spokesman.
European Council president Donald Tusk announced that Brexit has been added to the agenda of a two-day EU summit in Brussels taking place on Thursday and Friday.
Mr Tusk said: "We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop, but we are ready to discuss how to facilitate UK ratification. As time is running out, we will also discuss our preparedness for a no-deal scenario."
And a spokeswoman for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker poured cold water on any prospect of a renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement.
Speaking ahead of Mrs May's statement on postponing the vote, the spokeswoman said: "This deal is the best and only deal possible. We will not renegotiate."
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar ruled out reopening talks around the backstop, saying it was not possible to reopen any aspect of the Withdrawal Agreement without reopening all of it.
Addressing the Commons, the Prime Minister accepted that there was "widespread and deep concern" among MPs over the backstop arrangement, designed to keep the Irish border open if the EU and UK fail to strike a wider trade deal.
But she insisted that there was "no deal available that does not include the backstop".
And she said that none of the alternative outcomes - a second referendum, the so-called Norway-plus membership of the single market and customs union or no-deal Brexit - could command a majority in the House.
Mrs May said she still believed there was "a majority to be won" in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on future EU/UK relations agreed with Brussels after more than 18 months of negotiations.
And she said: "It is clear that this House faces a much more fundamental question.
"Does this House want to deliver Brexit? And if it does, does it want to do so through reaching an agreement with the EU?
"If the answer is yes, and I believe that is the answer of the majority of this House, then we all have to ask ourselves whether we are prepared to make a compromise.
"Because there will be no enduring and successful Brexit without some compromise on both sides of the debate."