MPs will not get to vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal until after the new year, Downing Street confirmed yesterday.

Parliament was supposed to have its meaningful vote on Tuesday, but with the Prime Minister facing certain defeat, the Government shelved it, promising to go to Europe to seek assurances on the controversial Irish backstop.

That delay infuriated Brexiteer MPs, resulting in Tory backbenchers forcing a vote of no confidence.

May won, but only by 200 to 117, a much smaller margin than expected Many of those who supported the Prime Minister did so because she promised she would not lead the Government into the next election.

She refused to give further details of her departure yesterday, telling journalists: “People try to talk about dates. What I’m clear about is the next General Election is in 2022 and I think it’s right that another party leader takes us into that General Election.”

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May had little time to celebrate her victory, heading straight to Brussels to plead for those assurances with leaders at an EU summit.

While there is a willingness in Brussels to give the Prime Minister some words to take home with her, either before or after Christmas, they may not be enough to please any of the 117 MPs who voted against her.

A leaked draft summit text, claims the “backstop would apply only temporarily unless and until superseded by a subsequent agreement”.

It also vows that “if the backstop were nevertheless to be triggered ... it would only be in place for a short period and only as long as strictly necessary”.

Tory Brexiteers, however, want the Withdrawal Agreement changed.

The EU27 have firmly rejected that. German chancellor Angela Merkel, who met May in Berlin on Tuesday, said: “I do not see that this Withdrawal Agreement can be changed.

“We can discuss whether there should be additional assurances, but here the 27 member states will act very much in common and make their interests very clear.”

French president Emmanuel Macron said: “We cannot re-open a legal agreement, we can’t renegotiate something which has been negotiated over several months. We can have a political discussion in this context.”

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Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, said the Prime Minister had to honour her commitments on the backstop. “As the European Union, we are very keen to offer explanations, assurances, clarifications, anything that may assist MPs to understand the agreement and hopefully to support it but the backstop is not on the table,” he said.

In particular, he insisted there could be no “unilateral exit clause”.

Dominic Raab, a former Brexit secretary said it was difficult to see how May could remain in No 10 if that was all she came back with: “We will have to back her as best we can.

“But the problem is that both in relation to Brexit and the wider sustainability of the Government, given the likelihood of any changes to the deal, given the likely scale of opposition, it looks very difficult to see how this prime minister can lead us forward.”