Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle could stop Tory rebels voting on an amendment that would curb the government’s emergency powers.
Sir Lindsay is refusing to allow MPs a vote on the amendment out of fear it would be breaking house procedures.
Around 50 MPs have signed an amendment by Sir Graham Brady, chair of the influential Tory backbench 1922 committee, demanding a vote on new coronavirus restrictions that would curb the “liberties” of Britons.
Ringleaders claim the true figure is closer to 100 meanwhile Labour and the Liberal Democrats are set to back the amendment.
Downing Street want to see an extension of its emergency powers, which were voted through parliament in April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking with the MailOnline, one senior Tory MP said Brady was preparing MPs for a rebellion.
“It is a bit of ‘Grand Old Duke of York’,” they said. “If you (allow the vote) you are going back to what the previous Speaker did, and you will end up with the courts deciding.
“If you don’t believe in it you can vote against it – a straightforward vote.”
Former Speaker John Bercow was seen as “bending the rules” in his final days in the chair.
If the vote goes ahead, the government’s 80-strong majority could be overturned.
A final decision on whether the amendment will proceed will not be made before Wednesday.
The revolt comes amid rumours there is a growing rift between chancellor Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson, which No 10 has fervently denied.
The Sun reported Johnson ruled out a second lockdown to stop Sunak from quitting as chancellor.
A senior Tory MP told the paper: “There were fears he would find it difficult to carry on if he was ignored.
“It was all down to the chancellor that we avoided delivering a hammer blow to the economy and took a more balanced approach instead. Rishi saved the day.”
Talk of a rift came after Sunak told the nation “our lives can no longer be put on hold” during his speech unveiling his Winter Economic Plan, a contradiction of the prime minister’s message.
Also, former minister Simon Clarke – who stepped down earlier this month for personal reasons – has issued a joint statement with other Teeside MPs warning against a ban on households mixing.
They wrote that no more restrictions should be imposed on the area, and specifically took a swipe at a measure thought to be under serious consideration by the government.
Brexiteer MP Steve Baker, a key rebel backing the amendment, said MPs should get a say on laws that will affect the “liberties” of Britons.
He told Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “MPs should be sharing in the dreadful burden of decision in these circumstances and not just retrospectively being asked to approve what the government has done.”
He added: “We’re trying to put this right. And actually, it’s a very modest proposal that MPs should vote on law before it comes into effect and takes away people’s liberties.”
But Downing Street is equally adamant that the vote will not be called, leaving rebels with only the nuclear option of voting against the government’s Covid-19 legislation, something they do not think the rebels will do.