Theresa May this morning signalled she was intent on pursuing Brexit at any cost.
The Prime Minister has acknowledged a leaked Whitehall analysis painting a gloomy picture of the post-Brexit UK economy, but insisted she will press on regardless.
“It’s important of course that the government looks at the analysis that is available,” May told the BBC.
“But of course it’s also important that the government does what the British people want us to do — the British people want us to leave the European Union and that is what we will be doing.”
But she continues to resist pressure on her to step down, insisting "I’m not a quitter."
It comes as fresh divisions opened up in Government over Brexit.
The Prime Minister’s Brexit advisors are reportedly secretly considering plans to strike a customs union deal with the EU.
But Trade Secretary Liam Fox, who is travelling back from China on the same plane as the PM played down the idea.
He said: “It is very difficult to see how being in a customs union is compatible with having an independent trade policy, because we would therefore be dependent on what the EU negotiated in terms of its trading policies and we’d be following behind that.”
Meanwhile, prominent Tory MP Johnny Mercer defended Mrs May from calls for her to step down, but said she needed to set out her vision for the UK.
The Prime Minister is "the best and the only option" to lead the Tories "at the moment", Johnny Mercer said.
But the backbencher – who has been tipped as a potential future leader – said Mrs May was "in a very difficult position" over Brexit.
"This is what people voted for, people did know there was going to be a period of uncertainty," he said.
"Like anybody else, I would like to see a vision on it."
There are "fundamental questions" she needs to answer but "there is no point going into a negotiation saying ‘this is what I want from it’ and showing all your cards straight away," he acknowledged.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the Plymouth Moor View MP insisted that Brexit was "not the defining issue" of the Conservative Party.
With an eye on May’s local elections, he said: "We need to see more vision, we need to give people something to vote for."
The Conservatives need to "do a bit better" at getting their message across, he said.
But he insisted that it was not in the party’s interest to oust Mrs May.
"She is the best and the only option at the moment," he said.
"We are going through a very difficult transition phase at the moment and she is clearly the best person to lead us through that."
Mr Mercer added: "When you say you are going to do something, there is a window of opportunity to get that done where the British public will stick with you.
"I do think we have to do better on a domestic agenda, we have to start answering some of the fundamental questions of our time – but we are doing that."
"There is more to this party than Europe."
He insisted the Prime Minister was showing leadership by managing the warring Brexit factions in the Conservative Party.
"She has got these two sides who are diametrically opposed on some issues and it is being kept together."