Brexiteers who sank Theresa May's deal three times could now support an altered version if Boris Johnson secures concessions on the backstop
- European Research Group members privately say they could back a deal
- Senior members fear that if they don't, then Article 50 could be revoked
- But ERG leader Steve Baker has maintained he won't back 'any old rubbish'
Hardline Brexiteers may back a new deal with the EU if Boris Johnson secures concessions on the backstop.
Four senior members of the European Research Group (ERG) have privately said they might have to back a new version of Theresa May's unpopular deal.
Mrs May's deal was defeated three times, but the Sunday Times reports that a tweaked arrangement could win support from Tory Eurosceptics.
Hardliners are said to be softening, but the ERG chairman Steve Baker (left) says he won't be voting for 'any old rubbish' that Boris Johnson (right) brings back
They believe that not backing Johnson could result in his resignation, or the revocation of Article 50, which is the means by which the UK is set to leave the bloc.
Steve Baker, who chairs the ERG, has said that the group's support will depend on what Mr Johnson secures in Brussels. He maintained that he will not hesitate to vote against a 'bad deal'.
The Prime Minister will meet Jean-Claude Juncker tomorrow to tell the European Commission President that he will not extend Article 50 beyond October 31.
If the ERG was to support Mr Johnson's deal, it would remove the major opposition that Theresa May's version faced.
Mr Baker said Mr Johnson should 'prepare for glory' in a remark that some people believe was a hint that the ERG is softening.
But he added: 'If the deal is so bad I have to vote against it, I will not be concerned by the loss of the Conservative whip because the Conservative Party will be in its death throes.'
The ERG consistently opposed the deal brought back by Theresa May (pictured)
He later tweeted: 'When I said, "The prime minister should prepare for glory," I meant that we could all be about to die in the pass, not that we may vote for any old rubbish. The question makes little sense until there’s a text.'
Tomorrow Mr Johnson will tell the EU: 'Some MPs have been peddling a myth that I am not serious about getting a deal. Nothing could be further from the truth.
'I am striving for a deal and I think we can achieve this. I will commit UK officials and my lead negotiator to work flat out to come up with a new agreement without being trapped into EU laws.'
He will tell them that they should be in no doubt about his determination to take the UK out by October 31.
Mr Johnson will say that now is the time for serious talks and a Number 10 source has reiterated that the PM won't seek to delay the departure.