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Allies rally to UK's May amid leadership woes over Brexit

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British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Lancaster House in London

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey quit Thursday, saying they could not support the agreement.

Under Conservative Party rules, a vote must take place when 48 of her lawmakers submit letters to the party's so-called 1922 committee, chaired by a senior lawmaker, Graham Brady.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said any changes to the draft were unlikely.

May is facing political chaos and open rebellion within her ranks, with Conservative opponents plotting to oust her after Britain struck a divorce agreement with the European Union this week.

She also signalled her determination to take personal charge of the final weeks of the Brexit negotiations by appointing health minister Stephen Barclay as the Cabinet's new EU Exit Secretary.

Party chairman Brandon Lewis said the Prime Minister is "prepared for anything", when asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme if she was prepared for a leadership challenge.

Michael Gove, for his part, assured that he was "looking forward to continuing to work" with all his government colleagues and all his colleagues in parliament "in order to make sure we get the best future for Britain".

"The deal does not secure frictionless trade, nor a single market or customs union, contains no commitment to workers" rights and regulation, nor our environment, no European Arrest Warrant, no retainment of Europol arrangements, no collaboration with key agencies like EASA and Erasmus.

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May's staunchly pro-Brexit global trade secretary, Liam Fox, also came to her aid. Other ministers, including David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, joined in a campaign to shore up Mrs May's authority, as he praised her resilience in carrying out an "absolutely back-breaking job".

As furious Conservative rebels try to gather the numbers to trigger a no-confidence vote, May insisted she hadn't considered quitting.

The five ministers, who have all -attended Ms Leadsom's "pizza nights" to thrash out strategy, could also help Mrs May avoid a vote of no-confidence from her MPs, as they are in a position to influence Leave supporters who might be contemplating calling for one.

It follows a backlash against her controversial EU Brexit deal. The prospect of a radical socialist prime minister would likely be enough to frighten pretty much all Tory MPs away from backing an election.

May also said her husband feels the pain of the vicious personal attacks on her by Conservative Party critics even more than she does.

After a day of conflicting rumors about whether 48 letters had been sent, leading Brexiteer Steve Baker said, "I think we're very close". But, ultimately, the question is: can we get a deal that sticks?

Tory whips met at Westminster yesterday to discuss building support for Mrs May ahead of a crunch no-confidence vote - expected to be triggered on Monday - which would oust her from Downing Street. "We've been married for 38 years, that's a long time". In a letter to May she wrote that "It will be no good trying to pretend to [voters] that this deal honors the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone it doesn't".

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