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Britain's Environment Secretary Michael Gove arrives at his office in London on Nov. 16, 2018.Victoria Jones/The Associated Press

British Prime Minister Theresa May has received some badly needed support as she struggles to salvage a Brexit deal with the European Union and fend off a challenge to her leadership.

On Friday two senior cabinet ministers – Environment Minister Michael Gove and Trade Minister Liam Fox – backed Ms. May and her proposed EU withdrawal agreement, ending speculation they would follow four other ministers who resigned this week in protest of the deal. Their support is seen as a critical boost for Ms. May because both are among the few cabinet ministers left who represent the hard-Brexit wing of the Conservative Party, which advocates cutting almost all ties with the EU. Mr. Gove was a leading figure in the Vote Leave campaign during the 2016 Brexit referendum, and Mr. Fox is a long-time eurosceptic.

Mr. Gove told reporters on Friday that he has absolute confidence in Ms. May and added, “I think it’s absolutely vital that we focus on getting the right deal in the future and making sure that in the areas that matter so much to the British people we can get a good outcome.” Mr. Fox echoed that sentiment, telling reporters, “I have full confidence in the Prime Minister. I think she is taking us forward with confidence and – I have to say – with resilience.”

Ms. May has been grappling with a political crisis since Wednesday when the Brexit deal was unveiled. Among the cabinet ministers who quit was Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who said he could not support the agreement. Mr. Raab, a hard-Brexit supporter, had only been in the job for four months, having replaced David Davis, another Brexit backer, who also resigned over Ms. May’s strategy. On Friday, Ms. May appointed Stephen Barclay as Brexit Secretary. Mr. Barclay, who supported Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum, is expected to focus on domestic preparations for the U.K.’s departure from the EU and not negotiations.

There was further good news for Ms. May on Friday when a leading business group which came out in favour of the Brexit deal. A committee of the Confederation of British Industry, which represents 190,000 businesses, said the agreement represented “hard-won progress” and urged politicians and the public to get behind it. The committee said that while the deal wasn’t perfect, it was far better than leaving the EU in March without an agreement, a move that would badly damage the economy. Several other business groups and companies have also said the deal represented a key step forward, and financial markets largely stabilized on Friday after a tumultuous Thursday that saw the value of the pound suffer its steepest drop in two years.

Ms. May has faced a barrage of criticism over the Brexit agreement, and few observers believe she has enough support to get it through Parliament in a crucial vote next month. The opposition Labour Party has called the deal “half-baked” and many members of Ms. May’s Conservative Party believe the agreement keeps the country too closely tied to the EU and defeats the purpose of Brexit. Ms. May has insisted that this is the best deal possible and took her case to the public on Friday, participating in a radio call-in show during which one caller told her bluntly to resign. She plans to do more media interviews over the weekend in hopes of winning more support.

She’s also dealing with a growing revolt from inside her Conservative Party caucus. A group of disgruntled MPs who back a hard Brexit has been calling on her to resign since Wednesday. They have yet to reach the required threshold of 48 MPs to trigger a vote of confidence in her leadership, but they could hit that target on Monday as more come forward. If they succeed, all 315 Tory MPs would vote on whether Ms. May should continue as leader. If she won, she could not be challenged for a year. If she lost, she could not stand for re-election in a subsequent leadership contest.

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