Dr Philip Lee, who resigned as justice minister last week just hours before crucial votes, is confident Conservative rebels would defeat Ms May and her Government today, despite continuous efforts to encourage them to retreat.
But last night Mrs May told rebels within her party she would not back down on today’s key Brexit vote warning a vote against the Government was a vote for Brussels.
MPs are debating and will vote on a fresh amendment the House of Lords passed on Monday, which could dramatically change Brexit.
Peers defeated the government in a landslide vote to give MPs a “meaningful vote” on Brexit, to allow them to send the Government back to the negotiating table if the Brexit deal is rejected.
Ms May’s spokesperson said: “We cannot accept the amendment on meaningful vote agreed in the Lords. Agreeing to amendable motions would allow parliament to direct government on its approach to exiting the EU, binding the prime minister’s hands and making it harder to secure a good deal for the UK.
“It also does not meet the reasonable tests set out last week by the prime minister and the secretary of state for exiting the European Union that any new amendment must respect the referendum result, cannot undermine the negotiations or change the constitutional role of parliament and government.
“Our original amendment struck the right balance between respecting the tests set out by the government as well as delivering on the aims of Dominic Grieve’s own amendment. That’s why we will be re-tabling our original amendment and will look to overturn the Lords decision.”
Last week, the Government defeated a similar amendment put forward by the Lords by just 26 votes.
However, today Dr Lee steadfastly said the rebels would be able to secure victory, while he said the Government’s deployment of the “normal dark arts” were “fully expected”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My understanding is that the position taken by a number of colleagues is solid, which is why the government is still in negotiations with the rebels.
“We were always going to get the normal dark arts of Westminster taking place, it’s fully expected.
“But I must keep saying that this for me personally is a position of integrity, I believe that Parliament deserves to have a proper role in this process.
“I still have not had an explanation as to why this amendment is not acceptable to the government.”
A number of Labour MPs are expected to defy Jeremy Corbyn and vote with the Government, after it was said that they had held talks.