A “lot more work” is required to get MPs to back Theresa May’s Brexit deal, Jeremy Hunt has said, amid uncertainty over whether it will be put to a vote for a third time this week.
The foreign secretary said there were “encouraging signs” that opponents of the deal were slowly coming round.
But he said another vote would only be held before Thursday’s EU summit if ministers were “confident” of victory.
A number of Brexiteers have signalled they will continue to oppose the deal.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson called for further changes to the terms of withdrawal, which the EU has rejected, while 22 Tory MPs have written to the Daily Telegraph saying that leaving without any agreement known as a no-deal exit on 29 March would actually be a “good deal” for the UK.
Although the PM’s plan is expected to be voted on for a third time in the coming days, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the situation remained highly unpredictable.
She said it was “eminently feasible” the PM would delay a vote until after Thursday’s summit at which European leaders will discuss a UK request to extend the Brexit process and delay the UK’s departure.
Last week, MPs rejected Theresa May’s deal for a second time – this time by 149 votes – and then backed plans to rule out leaving the EU without a deal.
They also voted in favour of an extension to the process – either until 30 June, if the deal is supported before 20
March; or a longer one that could include taking part in European elections if MPs reject her plan again.
All 27 EU member states would have to agree to an extension.