The first was the Archbishop of York who wrote in this newspaper on Monday about the need for MPs on all sides to lead with “wisdom and insight” in order to start healing national divides.
Dr John Sentamu’s backing of Theresa May’s stance has now been followed by Sheffield’s Lord Blunkett, a political elder statesman, who concludes in The Yorkshire Post today that the Prime Minister has, despite her imperfections, “done her best” despite being “dealt an impossible hand” and that history will, in time, be sympathetic towards her predicament.
Given that both men would not be regarded as natural allies of Mrs May, or her party, their respective contributions are all the more significant because they demonstrate a level of realism – and spirit of compromise – which, alas, remains so elusive in the House of Commons. They know that this country is at a turning point in its history and all politicians need to become more tolerant, and respectful, of each other if some order is to be brought to the current chaos.
For, while the next week will be even more tumultuous if Mrs May’s deal is, as expected, voted down by MPs, it will still fall to the Houses of Parliament to pick up the pieces and provide the mature leadership that the country expects. With no guarantee that another election, second referendum or Labour-led government will break the Westminster impasse, it can only be hoped that more politicians and public figures heed the example of Dr Sentamu who will begin a Brexit prayer vigil tomorrow, and also Lord Blunkett, by making contributions that are more constructive – and less destructive – in both spirit and tone. After all, it is this country’s future which is at the stake.