Tory Eurosceptics poised to vote against Rishi Sunak’s Brexit deal

James Duddridge, a former trade minister, told The Telegraph on Monday that he would also oppose the agreement.

Six more Eurosceptic MPs confirmed privately that they are set to rebel against the Government, which has imposed a three-line whip for the vote. One senior Tory backbencher said the report made “damning reading” and they were now going to vote against the deal.

Separately, Greg Smith, the MP for Buckingham, told The Telegraph: “The test in my mind is even if it’s not perfect, does it move us forward from the provisions of the protocol as per the Withdrawal Agreement?

“From what I heard, and from my first reading of their report, the answer to that is that this is status quo at best, potentially a step backwards.”

Government whips were texting backbenchers on Tuesday night in a sign of Downing Street nerves about the potential size of a rebellion. While Number 10 has won around some leading Brexiteers, it is braced for big name opposition including by Sir Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Northern Ireland Secretary who is a former ERG chairman, said the deal was “not perfect” but represented a “massive improvement”.

He told the European scrutiny committee it was “genuinely worth voting for” and represents an “important opportunity for a turning point for Northern Ireland”.

Labour has said it will support the deal, so there is no chance of it failing to pass, but Number 10 will be determined not to have to rely on opposition votes. 

Mr Sunak has a working majority of 66, meaning he needs to contain any rebellion to fewer than 34 of his own backbenchers to avoid such a headache.