Theresa May prepares for a grilling from MPs

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    Prime Minister Theresa MayImage copyright Getty Images

    Theresa May will address Conservative MPs later following a week which has shown up her party’s Brexit divisions.

    The meeting will be the prime minister’s last chance to rally backbenchers before the summer recess.

    It will cap off a day which includes Prime Minister’s Questions and an appearance by Mrs May at the Liaison Committee of select committee chairs.

    On Tuesday ministers saw off a bid by Tory rebels to create a customs union with the EU if a trade deal failed.

    The rebel amendment to the trade bill was defeated by only six votes.

    Twelve Conservatives rebelled against their party by supporting the amendment but the government’s total was boosted by the support of four Labour MPs.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionConservative Anna Soubry criticised colleagues who have a “gold-plated pension” and support Brexit

    Conservative MPs were warned that voting for the amendment, and therefore against the government, could lead to a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, the BBC understands.

    The session of Prime Minister’s Questions will be the last opportunity Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has of putting questions to Mrs May before Parliament breaks for the summer.

    The prime minister will then head to the Liaison Committee – due to start at 15:00 BST.

    The committee – which usually sits three times a year – is made up of the chairs of each select committee.

    With more than 30 senior MPs from the main parties free to ask questions, the session could be lengthy.

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    Once that is over the prime minister will attend a meeting of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs.

    The meeting comes amid rumours that Tories seeking to remove Mrs May are close to getting the 48 signatures they need to trigger a no-confidence vote.

    Such a vote could pave the way for a leadership election.

    There has also been speculation that Boris Johnson – who resigned as foreign secretary after disagreeing with the prime minister’s vision of the future relationship with the EU brokered at Chequers – will take the opportunity to make a resignation speech in the Commons on Wednesday.

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