Our political columnist The Rebel explores decision-making behind the scenes at Westminster as the Prime Minister Theresa May first pledges to resign to save her Brexit deal, then announces she will hold talks with the official opposition, and a late-night Commons vote forcing the UK Government to ask MPs for an extension passed by one.
The Rebel is a leading political figure close to senior politicians in London as well as Cardiff Bay, and will always give readers the inside track on what is being discussed in the corridors of power.
I have just spent an hour talking about this current situation with another seasoned political commentator.
Except we weren’t talking.
There was a lot of staring into space, with sentences beginning “She could always…” and then tailing off.
These sentences would invariably end with both of us shaking our heads and saying “This is a complete mess”.
Frankly no one knows what’s going on, because all options are open and politics are in complete chaos with the Lib Dems, as usual, nowhere.
Anybody who tells you he or she is sure exactly what will happen, is talking nonsense.
We have neither of us seen anything like this in a (combined) 60 years of watching political events.
To turn to the hopelessly-divided Labour opposition shows what a complete mess ‘torrid times’ Theresa is in.
She has now tried (and failed) THREE times to get her Brexit deal over the line in the House of Commons, and the last one was a watered-down version.
Theresa even said she would resign and the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson grumpily said they would accept it.
Still it failed.
So now she has turned to the bearded lefty, and that has infuriated Boris and his lot.
Despite being the exact opposite of everything she stands for, and knowing Labour are all over the place with anti-Semitism, Theresa has to ask Jezza for help.
These ‘talks’ (even in a letter form) are almost certain to fail because the gap between them is so big, and don’t forget 25 Labour MPs including front benchers have sent their leader a stern letter warning him to get a deal and not to support a second referendum.
Meanwhile what of his opposite number?
As one of Theresa’s own MPs told me, who has in the past supported her: “She keeps getting back up, we can’t seem to get rid of her”.
Nothing seems to stick to her and according to the same MP she has turned from ‘torrid times Theresa’ to ‘Teflon Theresa’.
That House of Commons vote on the Yvette Cooper/Oliver Letwin bill was unbelievable.
There were a lot of bleary-eyed politicos in Parliament when it passed by one vote just before midnight.
Unlike the other ones this is not an ‘indicative vote’ which ‘Teflon Theresa’ could just ignore, and it should become law.
Mind you, whether or not the EU accepts a longer extension is anybody’s guess…
The whole future looks bleak for Teflon Theresa.
She wakes up today with newspaper headlines screaming that some of her own cabinet members are in ‘open revolt’ over a lengthy extension.
The Attorney-General Geoffrey Cox (who scuppered the second ‘deal’ by saying the backstop could become legally permanent) told the BBC that the extension was likely to be “longer than just a few weeks or months”.
But young protege Gavin Williamson, the Secretary of State for Defence (who brokered the deal with the Democratic Unionist Party [DUP]) said: “I’d like to make sure we get out in April or May”.
Brexit-supporting ministers including Mr Williamson, Andrea Leadsom, Liz Truss, Chris Grayling and Michael Gove have been meeting to discuss ways to stop a long extension.
Meanwhile Labour held on to Newport West, as one paper reported, “amid Brexit chaos”.
They got that bit right anyway…
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