MID Dorset & North Poole MP Michael Tomlinson says the Prime Minister's Brexit deal "may be even worse than we had been led to expect."

Writing in a national newspaper, Mr Tomlinson - who only accepted the position of Dominic Raab's Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) less than 48-hours before Mr Raab resigned - said: "For me, Brexit is simple. I believe our laws should be made in Westminster. It is a question of sovereignty.

"As to the deal, I needed to be persuaded of two things. Firstly, that any transition is time limited and that we can get out of it.

"Secondly, that it maintained the UK's integrity."

Mr Tomlinson, a lawyer, insists he's never been aiming for 'no deal', instead his preference was, and remains, a comprehensive free trade agreement.

He added: "How terrible the phrase 'no deal.' From here on in we should call it 'a Clean Global Brexit'.

"There is still a chance that a free trade agreement is possible. But unless the EU is ready to treat the UK with respect, we must redouble preparations for a Clean Global Brexit, on WTO terms"

Last week Mr Tomlinson accepted an invitation to become then Brexit Minister Dominic Raab's PPS.

Writing in the same national newspaper, Mr Tomlinson said: "I must hold the record as the PPS who has served for the shortest time.

"Less than 48-hours later, the PM held her Cabinet meeting, which resulted in Raab resigning."

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood, a Government loyalist and MP for Bournemouth East, said: "I fully recognise the call for a people's vote in relation to honouring the will of the people, which may well be different now than it was in 2016.

"However, unless the EU is willing to alter what the current membership entails, and that means greater transparency, accountability and a more practical view on immigration, then we risk another polarised outcome.

"We need a decisive 60/40 vote to realistically conclude the national debate on this critical issue."

He also asked colleagues who want to challenge Theresa May to think about the consequences of their actions.

"Their objective, if achieved, would likely default the UK towards a no deal. I don't support a no deal, I support the PM.

Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said: "Politics has been divided and polarised since 2016 and it is not remotely surprising that both sides are taking entrenched positions."

He described the current deal as "the worst of all worlds."

On the leadership issue, he said: "Some people have become over-excitable, and if there is to be a challenge I wonder why the numbers haven't been reached yet."

He added: "It is really important to remember that we are not talking about the future of one Prime Minister or even one party, we are talking about the future of the country. The best route to decide these huge issues is on the floor of the House of Commons, not in a confidence vote within the Conservative Party."