NUMBER 10 has dismissed rumours of a possible delay to tomorrow night’s meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit agreement.

Reports over the weekend suggested the Tory leader was to go to Brussels to “handbag” the EU into giving the UK a better deal, rather than the face the inevitability of defeat in the Commons.

Nicola Sturgeon said delaying the vote would be May “putting Tory party interests first”.

With Labour, the SNP, the DUP, the LibDems and least 108 of her own MPs against the deal, it seems almost certain that the Prime Minister will not only lose Tuesday’s vote, but will face one of the biggest parliamentary defeats since Jim Callaghan’s government lost a 1976 vote 259 to nothing.

Yesterday morning, the smell of May’s prospective failure coaxed out a number of senior Tories with an interest in replacing her as party leader.

May’s arch-rival, Boris Johnson, yesterday refused to rule out challenging her for the top job.

Asked to give an “absolute, categorical promise” that he would not stand against the Prime Minister, Johnson told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I will give you an absolute, categorical promise that I will continue to advocate what I think is the most sensible plan.”

Esther McVey, the Brexit-backing former work and pensions secretary also said that if she was asked, she would give the prospect of standing as leader “serious concern”.

Dominic Raab refused to say no when asked. He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday “I’ve always said I wouldn’t rule it out” but “it would be very self-indulgent to be engaging in all that speculation when we’ve got such a big issue up for decision on Tuesday”.

According to The Sunday Times, May, in a last-ditch attempt to save her government from collapse, wants to delay the vote and travel to Brussels to demand concessions on the Irish backstop.

One senior Cabinet minister told the paper: “People in No 10 think she needs to have a ‘handbag moment’ where she says: ‘Up with this I will not put.’”

But yesterday, Downing Street, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Scottish Secretary David Mundell, all insisted the vote was happening on Tuesday.

Barclay told the Andrew Marr Show: “We’ve got the vote on Tuesday. There’s still two full days of debate.”

Asked if the vote was “100% happening” on Tuesday he replied: “Yes.”

The SNP’s Stephen Gethins said no Scottish MP worth their salt could vote for the deal May is offering.

He added: “Tuesday’s Brexit vote should go ahead as planned – to allow MPs to firmly reject the Prime Minister’s bad deal and send a clear message to this government that they’ve failed over Brexit.”

One odd warning being passed on to Tory MPs considering rebelling was the threat of being forced to work over Christmas.

If the government loses both the meaningful vote and is then defeated in a no-confidence motion, under the rules of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act, they would have 14 days to win a vote of confidence.

If Jeremy Corbyn could show that he commanded a majority in the House of Commons, with support from the SNP, the LibDems and others, he could then be asked by the Queen to form a government.

Tory whips have apparently told the MPs that to avoid this the Government could call a confidence vote every day and would keep going until they won, even if that meant no Christmas holiday.

One minister warned his MPs that rejecting the deal would see Santa leaving them “a dirty great lump of coal in the form of a Corbyn government propped up by Nicola Sturgeon’s separatists”.

Labour’s Jon Trickett yesterday said that the party was considering its options and that Corbyn would be prepared to “form a minority government should that be necessary”.