ConservativeHome has no window through which to peer into Boris Johnson’s soul. But we think that the balance of the evidence is that he wants a deal with the EU rather than No Deal (though in our view he is very unlikely to gain one).
He seems to be aiming for a settlement based on the Brady amendment. This sought to remove the Northern Ireland backstop from the Withdrawal Agreement, and is the only Brexit policy of any substance to have passed the Commons.
The Prime Minister will have a bedrock of support among Party members if he makes it through this week in the House, and pushes for this position. Just over two in five of them would back it, according to our survey (see above).
But the bedrock of opposition would be bigger, almost touching half. Perhaps Johnson would be able to change some of their minds – and perhaps not since, when asked if the backstop would be acceptable with a time limit, backing for that position falls to about a third (see below).
So what does the Withdrawal Agreement mean, regardless of the presence of the Northern Ireland backstop? Perhaps the best summary of the debate is John Redwood’s correspondence with Ministers, in which he puts the case against the Agreement, and Steve Barclay puts the case for.
With Redwood’s agreement, we will be re-posting it entire, with links to his own site, this week. However, the question may be academic. By the end of this week, the Commons may have voted for a general election. There is simply no way of knowing.