'Wishful thinking': Tory MPs dismiss May's hopes for change of heart on Brexit ...

Jeremy Hunt insisted Theresa May can still salvage her Brexit deal today - despite Tory MPs branding her hopes of getting it through Parliament 'wishful thinking'.

The Foreign Secretary said he believed the PM will 'find a way' to win the looming Commons vote by getting assurances with 'legal force' that the Irish border backstop is only temporary.  

But senior Conservatives said they were detecting no sign of a shift in opinion over the Christmas break, warning that 'nothing has changed'.

Brexit hostilities have been resumed with just a fortnight to go until a titanic Commons showdown on the PM's package. 

The moment of truth was delayed last month when Mrs May conceded she was on track for a catastrophic defeat.

The premier used her New Year message to urge her warring MPs to 'to put our differences aside and move forward together'. 

She said passing the deal would mean the UK can thrive and 'start a new chapter with optimism and hope'.

Mr Hunt added his voice to the pleas today, saying that the deal Mrs May had thrashed out with the EU can 'give us absolutely everything we wanted'.  

On a trip to Singarpore today, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added his voice to the pleas to Tory MPs, saying that the deal Mrs May had thrashed out with the EU can 'give us absolutely everything we wanted'

On a trip to Singarpore today, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt added his voice to the pleas to Tory MPs, saying that the deal Mrs May had thrashed out with the EU can 'give us absolutely everything we wanted'

Theresa May used her New Year message (pictured) to urge her warring MPs to 'to put our differences aside and move forward together'

Theresa May used her New Year message (pictured) to urge her warring MPs to 'to put our differences aside and move forward together'

Senior Tories Sir Bill Cash and Sir John Redwood are among those who have renewed their vow to oppose the Brexit deal 

Senior Tories Sir Bill Cash and Sir John Redwood are among those who have renewed their vow to oppose the Brexit deal 

Speaking on a visit to Singapore, Mr Hunt told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that MPs could get 'absolutely everything we want' from Theresa May's Brexit deal.

'We have a clear opportunity to leave the EU on 29th March,' he said. 'It has the vast majority of things that people wanted, not absolutely everything.

'The question is, can we turn this into something that gives us absolutely everything we wanted, and I believe we can.

'There will be some tough negotiations to follow in the years ahead but I think getting this clearer language on the backstop will help to get it through Parliament.'

Mr Hunt said the PM was aiming to get concessions with 'legal force' that the Irish border backstop will only be temporary. 

'Theresa May has been very clear this isn't just about words but about text which has legal force,' he said.

'She has also been very straightforward about this - the EU has agreed the backstop is temporary and that's a word they have agreed.

'So what we're saying, very simply, is we're not asking for anything new but we are asking you to define what temporary means, so we can have confidence we're not going to be trapped in the customs union for ever against the wishes of the British people.'

Leading Cabinet Brexiteer Andrea Leadsom also came out strongly for the package earlier this week.

Mrs May has been engaged in another frantic round of diplomacy as she tries to wring more concessions out of Brussels that could help her get the deal through Parliament.

But the EU has flatly dismissed the idea of reopening the Withdrawal Agreement painstakingly put together over two years of negotiations.

The bloc also insists there cannot be a time limit on the backstop - although both sides say it should be temporary and fall away once a wider trade pact is sealed.

However, senior Cabinet ministers are still privately convinced they will get movement from the EU that could win round enough MPs.

Under the backstop arrangements, the whole UK

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