Speculation grows that Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt may resign from cabinet over ‘soft' Brexit draft agreement​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

PENNY Mordaunt has been named as the cabinet minister most likely to resign over Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal.   

There is growing speculation that the International Development secretary, who is also the MP for Portsmouth North, will leave her position in government over the prime minister’s ‘soft’ Brexit draft deal.

Theresa May is facing a showdown with Brexit-backing ministers as she seeks to persuade her cabinet to back a draft deal on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

Ms Mordaunt was at Downing Street last night and this morning and it has been reported she pleaded for ministerial ‘collective responsibility’ to be suspended so she could vote against the deal.

Tensions over the proposed agreement were heightened by reports that a senior Brussels negotiator has said the deal will mean the UK aligns its rules with Europe, while the EU ‘will retain all the controls’.

Ms Mordaunt is well-known for having a ‘hard’ Brexit stance.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt in Downing Street, London. Victoria Jones/PA Wire

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt in Downing Street, London. Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Leaked deal extracts have led to fears of a 'Brexit vassal state'.

Leave-backing Conservatives including Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg called on ministers to reject the proposed agreement, which they fear could lock Britain in the EU's customs union indefinitely, blocking its ability to strike new trade deals elsewhere.

At Westminster, speculation over possible resignations focused on Brexit-backing ministers such Andrea Leadsom or Esther McVey.

Ministers are being called to No 10 at 2pm to agree the deal. Resignations may follow if they cannot agree to it.