Parliament has this week, allegedly, ‘taken back control of Brexit.’ What this actually means in unclear, but it evidently enough to whip up MPs into the much-needed sense of urgent magnitude. The political situation certainly deserves it. When Theresa May loses the vote on her Withdrawal Agreement this week, none of even the Prime Minister’s closest advisers know what will happen. Throughout this week, May has been attempting to placate some members of the small Labour Brexiteer brigade, including John Mann, who confirmed his support for the deal this morning. It will not be enough, but colluding with Labour may be a way forward after the Commons defeat next week.
The bitter truth for everyone in the Houses of Parliament is that there is no majority for anything. The only real consensus is around rejecting no-deal, but many Tory MPs have now come round to the apparent fact that that is the inevitable outcome. Having been saying for more than two years that no-deal would be a disaster, the only lachrymose assessment of that eventuality is that it is not the ‘desired option.’
There is lots of uncertainty around the fraught political situation, but one thing is clear: this time next week, we shall see a different Parliament. Probably a Parliament engulfed in amendments, with desperate attempts to keep the margin of defeat down to a relative minimum. The strategy of No10 is, as it has been since the disastrous 2017 election, damage limitation. The buildup to this moment has been going on for over two years now. Theresa May has, with some blunders, got her deal past Brussels and her embattled Cabinet. Now stage three: Parliament. It will not be easy or simple, but bringing back the vote again and again may force the most treacherous voting group in the country to change their minds. The country’s future and The Prime Minister’s place in the history books may well depend on it.