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Theresa May told by Tory MPs to quit after her Brexit deal backfires

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LONDON — Theresa May is under growing pressure to quit after the “new deal” she offered parliament on Brexit caused a hemorrhage of support among Conservative members of parliament.

Dozens of previously loyal Tory MPs abandoned the prime minister on Tuesday evening following her offer to enable a vote on a second referendum, if the House of Commons backs her deal.

More than 60 Conservative MPs are openly planning to rebel against the prime minister if the vote takes place at the start of next month, with all opposition parties also committed to rejecting it.

“I supported the PM’s rotten deal last time as I felt we could then draw a line and select a new PM to pick up the pieces,” Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith tweeted.

“But I cannot support this convoluted mess. That it takes us towards a rigged referendum between her deal and no Brexit is just grotesque. The PM must go.”

Boris Johnson, who also backed May’s deal at its third vote and is widely tipped to succeed May as prime minister, said he could no longer support her deal.

“With great reluctance I backed MV3,” Johnson tweeted.

“Now we are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum. The Bill is directly against our manifesto – and I will not vote for it. We can and must do better – and deliver what the people voted for.”

The exodus of support has led to speculation that May could be forced to quit before holding the vote on her deal.

The executive of the 1922 Committee will meet on Wednesday afternoon under renewed pressure to change party rules to allow an early leadership election.

The row comes on the eve of the European Parliament elections in which May’s party are expected to come as low as fifth place.

A YouGov opinion poll out on Wednesday puts the party on just 7%, behind the Green Party. If borne out on Thursday, it would be the worst electoral performance by a UK governing party in history.

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