Three members of the British cabinet have said there should be an extension to Britain's withdrawal from the EU if the House of Commons does not approve a withdrawal deal in the coming days.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Business Secretary Greg Clark and the Justice Secretary David Gauke said it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 rather than crash out of the European Union on 29 March without a deal. 

Their comments in the Daily Mail are likely to be seen as a thinly veiled warning they could defy Prime Minister Theresa May to back moves by MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit in next week's crucial commons vote.

Mrs May has repeatedly insisted Britain will leave on 29 March as planned.

But in the Daily Mail article, the three ministers said it was clear that a majority of MPs would support an extension to the Article 50 withdrawal rather than see a no-deal break.

They wrote: "If there is no breakthrough in the coming week, the balance of opinion in Parliament is clear - that it would be better to seek to extend Article 50 and delay our date of departure rather than crash out of the European Union on March 29." 

The article continued: "It is time that many of our Conservative party colleagues in the ERG recognise that Parliament will stop a disastrous no-deal Brexit on March 29.

"If that happens, they will have no-one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit."

The ERG or European Research Group is a group of Conservative MPs who strongly oppose the UK's membership of the EU.

Moderate Conservative MPs have already written to Chief Whip Julian Smith to warn they are ready to vote for a delay to the UK's 29 March exit if the "intransigence" of hard-line Brexiteers means Mrs May's deal is again rejected by the House.

On Wednesday, the House of Commons is expected to consider an amendment enabling the House to extend the Article 50 withdrawal process if there is no deal by mid March.