David Davis should walk - MP

Brexit secretary David Davis

Brexit secretary David Davis has been urged to quit as Theresa May battles for government unity on her backstop proposals for the Irish border.

The prime minister is facing a tough response from Brexiteers over plans to allow a time-limited deal which would see the UK stay within parts of the EU customs union as a fall-back position if no preferred trade agreement is reached on withdrawal.

Amid reports that Brexit secretary David Davis had considered resigning over the issue, a government source said: "He's a very senior member of the Cabinet. We really value his contribution."

With the inner Brexit war Cabinet set to meet on Thursday, the government still could not say when the proposals would be made public.

Liberal Democrat MP and champion for the anti-Brexit Best for Britain campaign Tom Brake said: "The Brexit backstop has become the frontstop and there is no way David Davis will swallow that. He needs to walk. "The truth of the matter, which this government is so desperate to hide, is that the Brexit process has been more expensive, more time-consuming and much much more complicated than anyone anticipated. But this time a fudge simply will not do. "Now, with one of the leading Brexiteers considering quitting after struggling to find a way through the chaos, it's difficult to see Brexit as anything other than a shambolic mess. To my mind it's clear we need a people's vote on Brexit that includes an option to remain in the EU and put an end to this sorry tale."

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Cabinet tensions on the backstop initiative emerged after Mr Davis was believed to be insisting that the UK should be able to unilaterally withdraw from any border agreement in order to maintain leverage with Brussels in ongoing negotiations.

When pressed on whether he could remain in post if the backstop deal did not meet his full approval, Mr Davis said: "That's a question I think for the prime minister to be honest."

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Mr Davis made it clear that the document would be "decisive" as he said he planned to meet chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier again for Brexit talks next week.

Brexiteers accused the prime minister of giving the document regarding Northern Ireland to Cabinet supporters before more hardline advocates of EU withdrawal like foreign secretary Boris Johnson, according to The Times.

The Cabinet wrangling came as Mrs May faced a battle on a second front as she tried to persuade Tory rebels not to go against her when the EU (Withdrawal) Bill returns to the Commons on Tuesday.

Mrs May is determined to try and stop Tory MPs inflicting humiliating defeats on her by siding with amendments backed by the House of Lords.

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