By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline
Published: 10:33 BST, 16 September 2019 | Updated: 10:51 BST, 16 September 2019
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The Brexit 'Spartans' have warned Boris Johnson he will lose the next general election if he tries to resurrect Theresa May's failed divorce deal as the Chief Whip told the Prime Minister he can squeeze a Tory Eurosceptic rebellion to 'single figures'.
Mr Johnson is now concentrating his efforts on striking a new Brexit deal with the EU after MPs passed a law to effectively take No Deal off the table.
But the PM knows he will need the support of as many of his Conservative MPs as possible if he is to have any chance of winning a crunch vote on a new agreement in the House of Commons.
Chief Whip Mark Spencer has reportedly told the PM that if he can secure 'meaningful changes' to the Irish border backstop protocol he can get the rebellion down to 'between eight and ten' hardline Brexiteers.
Downing Street has made clear that any Tory MP who votes against a deal put before the Commons by Mr Johnson will be stripped of the whip.
But the 'Spartans' - the name given to an uncompromising group of Tory Brexiteers - have warned the PM they will not be pressured into supporting a bad deal and have insisted they do not fear being expelled.
In fact, they said any attempt to kick them out of the party would result in the Tories losing the next election.
They argue the chances of an informal pact between the Tories and the Brexit Party - viewed as crucial to Conservative hopes of winning a majority - would be dead if Mr Johnson booted them out because Nigel Farage would almost certainly side with them.
Boris Johnson, pictured leaving Downing Street this morning, has been told by his Chief Whip that the Tory Brexiteer rebellion could be squeezed to 'single figures'