A VOTE of confidence in Theresa May’s Government is “inevitable” if the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is defeated, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

In a move which dramatically increases the chances of a snap election, he said Labour would seek a confidence vote in the Government should the EU withdrawal agreement fail to win majority support in the Commons.

Labour and the SNP – as well as up to 100 Tory MPs – are expected to vote against May’s plan when it goes to a vote on December 11.

Speaking to Sky’s Sophie Ridge, the shadow Brexit secretary said: “We’ve got nine days to go so we will have to see how the vote goes, but it looks like a considerable number of Tory MPs are going to vote against it.

“It looks like the DUP are not and the other opposition parties not, so I think the Prime Minister is going to struggle between now and the vote.”

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He added: “If she loses that vote, the legislation we have already passed says she must come back to the House and make a statement about what she is going to do next. Now technically she has 21 days to do that but probably she would come back the next day, so we need to see what that is. But it seems to me that if the Prime Minister has lost a vote of that significance then that has to be a question of confidence in her government.” He continued: “I think it’s inevitable that we will seek to move that.”

Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act, if the government loses a vote on a motion of no confidence it has 14 days to pass a second confidence motion, or Parliament is dissolved and a General Election is called.

But despite the considerable cross-party opposition to May’s deal, Environment Secretary Michael Gove yesterday insisted the the Government can still win the crucial Commons vote. He told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show the alternative was either “no deal or no Brexit”.

“I believe that we can win the argument and win the vote. I know it is challenging,” he said. “I reflected long and hard about this deal but I concluded ... that while it is imperfect it is the right thing to do. One of the things that I hope people will have the chance to do over the next nine days is to recognise that we should not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

“We have got to recognise that if we don’t vote for this, the alternatives are no deal or no Brexit.”

Gove acknowledged he was uncomfortable about the Northern Ireland “backstop” but said that if it was activated it would be even more uncomfortable for the EU. “The critical thing about the backstop is however uncomfortable it is for the UK, it is more uncomfortable for the European Union,” he said.

“We will have tariff-free access to their markets without paying a penny. And, more than that, we will have control of our borders.”

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon will return to London today and urge opposition parties to work together to use the Commons vote to block a no-deal Brexit and to extend article 50 to give Parliament time to secure an alternative way forward.

The visit, which takes place as the FM travels to Climate Change talks in Poland, comes as a majority of parties in Holyrood agreed to support a motion opposing May’s Brexit deal, opposing no deal and calling on all parties to adopt a new approach. The Scottish Parliament will vote on the deal on Wednesday.

Ahead of her visit, the Sturgeon said: “The last week has been a watershed moment in the Brexit process. Having now finally published its own official analysis of the economic consequences of Brexit, the UK Government can no longer hide behind their own spin – it is clear that any kind of Brexit will make Scotland and the UK poorer. The reality is the best deal is remaining in the EU, which is exactly what the people of Scotland voted for. With so much at stake for people’s jobs and living standards, it is vital MPs come together to reject the PM’s deal, to rule out a no-deal Brexit and to secure an extension to Article 50.”

She added: “As soon as the Prime Ministers deal has been put to bed, all parties and MPs must come together to agree a better way forward.”