For the Executive to cede some control of the Commons’ timetable to the Legislature is not Government policy – and this is the essence of what Oliver Letwin and company are proposing.
So Richard Harrington has reportedly quit as a Minister in order to vote with Letwin and friends. This resignation has been coming for some time – to the point where some doubted whether it would ever come.
This passionate Remainer has been more than semi-detached for some time, frequently threatening to go, and saying that in his view European Research Group members “are not Conservatives”.
All credit to him if he has actually resigned of his own volition, rather than, in the manner of the pro-Soft Brexit Cabinet “gang of three”, simply defying the whip and staying on, confident that they would not be sacked. Sarah Newton behaved in a similarly honourable way.
Alistair Burt and Steve Brine have also voted against the Government – and resigned. Burt is a popular veteran and former Foreign Office Minister, while Brine, a Health Minister, had by no means reached the end of his career in government.