Theresa May also repeatedly said there would not be a snap General Election in 2017 – until she changed her mind – and claimed the Parliamentary vote on the withdrawal agreement she had struck with the European Union was set in stone to take place last Tuesday – until she changed her mind.
However, the determination and clarity with which she set out the case for avoiding another poll puts her latest remarks into a different category. “Another vote would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver,” she said.
The use of such strong language means Mrs May would destroy the credibility she has left with voters should she now decide to change course.
But her weakened political position means the decision may not be hers alone.
Even before Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to force a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers had been breaking ranks to set out their own Brexit positions; with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt claiming Britain would “prosper” even if it quit with no deal, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd arguing against leaving without an agreement and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox indicating he could support MPs being given a free vote on Brexit options.
All of this is taking place while the EU insists there will be no further meetings with the UK over Brexit, let alone substantive negotiations.
With or without another referendum, if Parliament fails to resolve the current impasse, the only certainty will be the lasting damage to faith in politics that Mrs May fears.