David Lidington has insisted that Theresa May's cabinet continue to work "very constructively" despite the fact that eight senior ministers, including the Brexit secretary, are opposed to extending Article 50.

Steve Barclay voted against an application submitted by the government, even though he had endorsed it only a few minutes earlier in the check-in box.

Others who opposed the idea of ​​expansion were Penny Mordaunt, Liam Fox, and Chris Grayling.

Lidington, secretary of the Cabinet Office, told the BBC Radio 4 program Today: "I've worked very constructively with Steve Barclay since his appointment a few months ago, even though he and I decided to face each other on the other side of the debate during the referendum We are working together constructively today and in the coming days. "

The motion called for a three-month postponement of Brexit – or possibly a longer one – if Parliament did not support the Prime Minister's deal next week. That will now become government policy.

Lidington said the delay could take more than a year if no agreement is reached in the next few days. "These are the signs that the Brussels institutions of the EU – the Commission, the Council Secretariat and certain governments of the Member States – have given us."

He added, "I hope that MPs from all parties will be over this weekend and just think about the way forward."

Conservative MPs received a free vote on the government's request on Thursday. This reflects the deep rift over the best path. Only fourteen days before the planned exit day.

Brexit shadow secretary Keir Starmer compared Barclay's actions to a chancellor who voted against her own budget.

Lidington said, "Yesterday there was a free vote in this division. This morning, the whole Cabinet has taken the position for which Parliament voted last night. "

He said he believed that the Brexit supporting ministers had used the free vote as an opportunity to register how unhappy they were to be in a position where we as a country really have no option but to extend our time to seek in the EU European Union ".

It is now expected that May will bring their deal on Tuesday for a third "meaningful vote" – and Downing Street is now working hard to win over the Democratic Unionist Party and members of the Conservative European Research Group.

Geoffrey Cox, the attorney general, has drafted a new legal council on how the United Kingdom could leave the Irish base if there had been "an unforeseen and fundamental change in circumstances" – though it does not seem to have won many Brexiters yet.

May will also come under pressure to propose a timetable for their departure to convince the Eurosceptics in their party that they could replace them before the crucial next phase of the Brexit negotiations.