It is hard to remember a time quite like it in British political history – a time when the system itself is just not working. On the one side you have Jeremy Corbyn, an ardent Eurosceptic for most of his life, apparently regarding the EU as an evil capitalist plot, who is now saying he’d vote Remain if a third referendum were called, largely out of fear of the majority of his backbenchers. On the other side you have Theresa May, who backed Remain and even now can’t say she’d support Leave if another vote were called, who is pushing the UK into a Hard Brexit, in her case out of fear of a vocal minority of her backbenchers. How screwed up is that? The reality is that maybe only around 100 MPs out of 650, mostly Tory and DUP but a few Labour, actually want a Hard Brexit – and almost certainly less than half of all MPs believe in Brexit in any form, and yet it presses inexorably on.
This is despite that the fact that poll, which had showed a solid Remain majority in the 40 years between the two Referendums, are again showing a majority for staying in the EU; and despite the fact that almost every argument deployed by the Leavers during the campaign has been shown to be misguided or deliberately dishonest.
As John Bercow reminded MPs, they are representatives and not delegates; their job is to do what they see as correct for the UK and that outlook can – indeed, must – change over time as circumstances alter. All those MPs on the Tory benches, including the Cabinet, who continue to drive forward a policy which they themselves believe will do harm to Britain are serving nobody well and in fact are betraying the country they were elected to serve.