The British government has said UK Prime Minister Theresa May will continue with her strategy of seeking changes to the Northern Ireland backstop in the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

It comes after yesterday's defeat for her government in the House of Commons on Mrs May's approach to Brexit.

MPs rejected a government motion to reaffirm support for the plan to seek changes to the Brexit deal. 

The vote was symbolic, undermining her negotiating strength in talks with the European Union, and came after the pro-Brexit Conservative European Research Group announced it had taken a "collective decision" to abstain.

The government was defeated by a majority of 45, when MPs voted 303 to 258 to reject the motion.

Afterwards, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Commons it was clear Mrs May had to find a new Brexit plan.

However, Downing Street said that while the prime minister had not secured parliamentary support last night, it was clear from the debate yesterday that MPs were concerned at taking a no-deal option off the table.

Their objection was not, the spokesperson added, to seeking changes on the backstop.

Following last night's vote angry Tory loyalists turned on the party's Brexiteers.

There was fury among some Conservative MPs after a last-minute announcement by the pro-Brexit European Research Group it had taken a "collective decision" to abstain.

Some Remainers also failed to vote, and five Tory MPs voted with the opposition.

While some ministers insisted the result was largely symbolic, it underlined the depth of the divisions which are threatening to tear the party apart.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood described the ERG's actions as "provocative", accusing them of operating as a "party within a party".

Today, former attorney general Dominic Grieve has claimed, a dozen or more Government ministers - including about six in the Cabinet - may be ready to resign if Mrs May refuses to extend Brexit talks beyond the deadline of 29 March.

Mr Grieve told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "My understanding is that many of them have made representations directly to the prime minister indicating their concern and telling the prime minister that if by the end of February there is no deal that has been got through the Commons, we ought to extend."

Asked how many ministers could resign, Mr Grieve said: "I think we are talking about a dozen or even more. Not entirely in the Cabinet, some are junior ministers."

Mrs May spoke to a number of EU leaders yesterday and has vowed to continue conversations in the coming days.

Those 'conversations' come ahead of even more crucial Commons' votes at the end of this month. 

Additional reporting PA