Last night MPs confirmed that which we’ve known all along: Parliament is snookered on Brexit.
All eight options on the Brexit menu proved unpalatable to the House of Commons. So, what now? Theresa May’s pledge to Conservative MPs to the effect that she will stand down as Prime Minister if her Brexit deal is passed at a third attempt had been long sought-after by many; but the DUP refused to blink.
Mrs May insists she is acting in the national interest by trying to ensure the vote to leave the European Union in 2016 is delivered. Now, she clearly believes she must make the ultimate political sacrifice in order to do so.
Whenever she departs, it will be a matter of regret to the Prime Minister that the all-encompassing process of delivering Brexit – made considerably more difficult by her decision to call the general election which lost the Conservatives their slim majority – meant next to no progress was made on the ambitions she set out to tackle burning social injustices when she became Prime Minister in 2016.
Mrs May arrived in Downing Street facing the challenge of solving one of the most complex political puzzles in British history; how to extract the UK from an economic and political union it has been part of for decades. There can be little doubt that mistakes have been made but she has not been helped by the consistent obstacles thrown in her path, both from opponents and those meant to be on her side.
Whoever does inherit the Premiership will take over a divided Party, Parliament and country – and is likely to be entering into complex negotiations with the EU on Britain’s future relationship with the remaining 27 member states assailed by contradictory demands and red lines from all sides.
For the foreseeable future, the Tory Party’s bogeyman; that which last night felled yet another of its Prime Ministers – will continue to haunt it, and the country. Europe.