No less than the ERG, the group of three sees everything through the prism of Brexit – which, let it not be forgotten, they voted to support themselves.
But their deputies look stricken, while the defectors are rejuvenated.
We regret the Party being less broad a tent than it did this morning. But the position of these MPs had become impossible – and intolerable.
“I am determined that under my leadership the Conservative Party will always offer the decent, moderate and patriotic politics that the people of this country deserve.”
“There is a failure of politics in general, not just in the Conservative Party but in both main parties as they move to the fringes.”
She hopes to move quickly while Labour is splitting, get a quick gloss on the backstop, square the ERG with a hint of Malthouse later – and, hey presto, the deal will be done.
Trashing last Friday’s event is doubtless fun for Conservative commentators, but not the right course at all for the Conservative Party.
Its muscular power is needed to boost share ownership, build houses and tax wealth rather than income. And let’s rule out a No Deal Brexit.
Perhaps we will find out today why Downing Street and the whips stuck with a motion that risked revolt by ERG members and second referendum backers alike.
Her motion is defeated. Will the EU now abandon her, and egg on Letwin and his supporters to try to take formal control of the negotiation?
Plus: Up, up and away – HS2’s costs. Staying down – LibDem poll ratings. Stuck where they are – Labour’s.
“Yet again her Government has been defeated”.
Also: Backlash grows against SNP’s new tax; Labour AM apologises for antisemitic comment; and Scottish Tories say they’ve stopped Johnson.
Robbins’ overheard conversation has further eroded faith in his boss – and the ERG is itself divided over whether changes to the backstop would themselves be enough.
At times, says the Education Secretary, the post he holds requires “a bold and vociferous and constant presence”. But “at other times less so”.