EVEN though today’s votes on Brexit are likely to be less dramatic than those of a fortnight ago when Theresa May survived a motion of no confidence just 24 hours after her EU Withdrawal Agreement suffered a historic defeat, they are just as important.
The likelihood is they will establish whether Parliament has effectively wrestled control of negotiations away from the Government in a bid to halt a no-deal Brexit – and if the Prime Minister has any room for manoeuvre with the EU over the so-called Northern Irish backstop.
It is also a day when obsure arguments over arcane Parliamentary procedure – and the amendments that Speaker John Bercow authorises for debate – bring out the worst in some MPs.
They should remember, however, that Britain is due to leave the European Union in exactly two months time. Yet, despite this, there is still no clarity on future trading arrangements – or confidence in the Government’s no-deal contingency planning as Ministers ignore the concerns of the Humber port authorities.
And while Theresa May did not help her cause by choosing to exclude Opposition MPs from the process as she tried – and failed – to marginalise Parliament, it does not justify the procedural pantomime that could take place in the House of Commons at a time when the Speaker’s impartiality is already under scrutiny.
MPs are very much on trial today and will not be thanked if their deliberations simply prolong the uncertainty when the country is crying out for some certainty two and a half years after voting to leave the EU.