Remain-backing Tory MPs led by Anna Soubry, a former business minister, and ex attorney general Dominic Grieve, have demanded a Brexit that maintains close ties to the EU, including in the customs union and single market.
Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith is looking towards Brexit-backing Labour MPs whose votes on Tuesday and Wednesday’s crunch Commons debate could could give Mrs May the support she needs to at least water down the House of Lords’ 14 amendments to the Brexit divorce bill.
Among the Labour Brexiteers are Frank Field, Kate Hoey, John Mann, Graham Stringer, Roger Godsiff and Kevin Hopkins.
They are joined by a significantly larger cohort of remain-backing MPs who represent areas of the UK that voted Leave.
Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick said: “I campaigned to remain but this county chose to leave, as a result I would not accept anything that is going to wreck Brexit.”
Stoke-on-Trent MP Garath Snell said: “Stoke-on-Trent voted overwhelming to leave the EU and I would be doing a disservice to my constituents if I said ‘I’m not sure you were right’.”
Among the collective is the issue of what constitutes Brexit betrayal.
Of the 15 Lords amendments due to be considered by the Commons, one has been accepted by the government, which is the provision for a “continuing relationship with the EU”.
One of the amendments that have Brexiteers from both sides hot under the collar is negotiations on keeping Britain in the European Economic Area (EEA), which is jargon for keeping the UK in the single market.
Theresa May will attempt to overturn the remaining 14.
Along with membership of the single market comes freedom of movement which would mean Britain would be unable to cap the amount of immigrants coming in and out of the UK.
This was a key pledge by Leave-supporters.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has instructed his MPs to simply abstain from the vote on the EEA.