British Members of Parliament on Wednesday deliberated on a series of "indicative" votes to guide the direction of Brexit, with options including cancelling the planned exit entirely, a second referendum, leaving with no deal, or a Norway-style deal that leaves the nation closely tied to the single market and customs union.
Indicative votes are where British MPs vote on a series of options designed to test the will of Parliament to see what, if anything, commands a majority. Around half a dozen options were to be selected, with MPs marking on paper each option with a "yes" or "no".
In the case of Brexit, supporters of indicative votes believe it could provide a way out of the current political stalemate.
Brexit hardliners, who have twice rejected the deal put forward by British Prime Minister Theresa May, have been pressuring the leader to name the date she will step down in return for their support.
MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ringleader of Westminster's Brexiteers, and the chair of the European Research Group, known as ERG, of Conservative eurosceptics, said he would support the prime minister's plan if it had the backing of the Democratic Unionist Party.
The 10 Northern Irish DUP MPs are seen as the key to securing the deal, but they have urged Conservative MPs to "stand firm" in their opposition unless there were "significant changes".
"Half a loaf is better than no bread," Rees-Moggtold the BBC on Wednesday morning, adding that he did not "begin to pretend this is a good deal or a good choice."
In a sudden reversal of his previously entrenched stance, Rees-Mogg wrote in the Daily Mail that he would: "be accused of infirmity of purpose by some and treachery by others", adding that he had "come to this view because the numbers in Parliament make it clear that all the other potential outcomes are worse and an awkward reality needs to be faced".
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said the government was still in talks to persuade the DUP to back it, along with other MPs on their own benches.
Leadsom said there was a "real possibility" the PM's deal could come back for a vote on Thursday or Friday, adding: "If we could simply get the withdrawal agreement bill under way … once we have done that, once we have left the EU, we can then look at what our future relationship will look like."
Friday, March 29, is the day written into law for the UK to leave the EU, but MPs are due to vote on a statutory instrument to confirm a delay – with the earliest Brexit is likely to happen now being April 12.
Six out of 10 business leaders in Britain want MPs to back a Brexit deal that would see the UK closely aligned to the EU's single market in goods and services, according to a survey by the Institute of Directors.
Edwin Morgan, interim director general of the Institute, said: "The decisions that Parliament faces this week cannot be ducked. There are no simple choices, only trade-offs. Conflicting views among MPs are understandable, and business does not have a unanimous view either, but now is the moment to accept that every course of action creates both risks and opportunities.
"Politicians who claim to prioritize the UK's future economic success must take account of the views of business leaders, who understand better than anyone the impact of the changes that are coming to our relationship with our largest trading partner."