This morning, all eyes are on the ERG – and specifically the group’s rather ominously-named ‘Star Chamber’ of lawyers – to see what verdict backbench Conservative Leavers will reach on the latest version of the Prime Minister’s proposed deal.
It’s understandable why that should be so, and the ERG does of course matter (as does the fact that it rarely if ever acts as one unified bloc, but contains a range of opinions). But it would be a mistake to think its is the only decision which matters today.
Some ERG MPs are pretty much certain to vote against, while others may well abstain, even if the Star Chamber seems content. In that circumstance, the Prime Minister’s proposal would still need support from elsewhere in order to pass. Don’t forget the arithmetic – we need to watch the DUP (whose view will inform the ERG’s, as Jacob Rees-Mogg told the BBC this morning), the Tory Remainers, the Tory Soft Brexiters, and, of course, the possibility of Labour rebels.
What satisfies some of those groups might deter others, of course, which adds an extra degree of complexity. In short, there is more than one moving part to keep an eye on.