The government will bring Mrs May’s much-maligned deal back to the Commons next month, having already suffered three humiliating defeats this year.
And in a desperate plea for MPs to finally back the deal, Mrs May today said after an international summit in Paris: “What this bill does is delivers on Brexit.
“When MPs come to look at this bill, when they come to vote on this legislation, I’m sure that they will be thinking of the duty that we have to ensure that we deliver on the vote of the British people.
“This is the bill that delivers Brexit.”
It came after Mrs May’s own Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, admitted to the Lords EU Committee: “I think if the House of Commons does not approve the bill, then the [Michel] Barnier deal is dead in that form.”
Number 10 said efforts were continuing to find a “sustainable” majority for the deal, with discussions involving DUP and Labour MPs. Cross-party talks with Jeremy Corbyn’s party have so far not come anywhere near finding a compromise.
In an attempt to get Tory hardliners on board, Mr Barclay and international trade secretary Liam Fox warned Eurosceptics that the possibility of Brexit not happening at all would increase if the bill was defeated.
It would leave just two options when the October 31 deadline looms: a no-deal Brexit, which has previously been rejected by MPs, or the revocation of Article 50, cancelling the entire process.
Another defeat next month would be a potentially fatal blow to the Prime Minister’s already fragile authority.
The Standard today reported how Mrs May was served a 24-hour deadline by senior Tory MPs to clarify when she will leave office, or risk being forced out by a rebellion of MPs and activists.
She will meet the executive of the backbench 1922 Committee to discuss her future on Thursday.