STEPHEN GLOVER: Yes, it was a wretched day, but I believe Boris Johnson may yet deliver

After the debacle of Saturday’s Commons vote, I wanted to go into a darkened room and never have to think about Brexit again. I expect millions of people felt the same.Just when it appeared possible that MPs might vote for Boris Johnson’s deal, albeit narrowly, some damn-fool amendment was passed which has apparently had the effect of pushing us further into the mire.How petty, out-of-touch and petulant many parliamentarians seemed.It was billed as a once-in-a-generation debate, yet much of the proceedings would have shamed a school debating society, though the Prime Minister’s opening statement, and Michael Gove’s closing speech, were impressive.But easy though it is to give in to despair, I’m going to stick out my neck and express some optimism that this maddening saga could soon be over. Or, to put it more judiciously, I don’t think the situation is as hopeless as it might seem.Let’s look, for a moment, at the plus side. Mr Johnson closed a deal with Brussels last Thursday which many commentators and general know-alls had declared unachievable. It’s not perfect, of course. But it’s an awful lot better than No Deal, and offers a reasonable way out of the mess we’re in.And although the PM has unfortunately lost the support of the Democratic Unionist Party, which invariably judges what is best for Britain through the narrow prism of its own self-interest, he has reunited his own party more successfully than almost anyone imagined.Many people (myself included) thought that if the DUP rejected his deal, many members of the hardline Tory ERG group would do the same in a spirit of solidarity. This hasn’t happened. Only a handful of ERG ultras may hold out.That means that whether the PM’s deal is put to the test today via a so-called meaningful vote (if Speaker Bercow allows it), or tomorrow via the second reading of the Withdrawal Bill, previously warring Conservatives will rally around the same flag.Former disgruntled Tory Remainers such as Nick Boles and the egregious Oliver Letwin (author of Saturday’s tomfoolery) will, figuratively speaking, join hands with ERG hard nuts such as Steve Baker and Mark Francois. Theresa May never managed to pull this off. Boris has.It’s perfectly true that, deprived of DUP support, even an almost united Tory tribe will not generate enough votes for the deal to pass. The Prime Minister will need the backing of at least a dozen pro-Leave Labour MPs. But that is not an incredible prospect.Moreover, the EU (on which institution the Prime Minister calculatedly lavished tributes on Saturday) is not minded to give an instant response to the request for an extension which he has been forced to make by the Benn Act.By the way, I think the PM got around this business rather cleverly by sending the letter he was legally obliged to compose without a signature, and accompanying it with another, which was signed, making clear he doesn’t want an extension. Labour may call it ‘childish’ but it seems pretty smart to me.The fact is that no one can be ...Read more

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