This Tory conference is making clear quite how topsy-turvy politics has become over the past few months. David Davis is sweeping around with a ministerial entourage. The Cameroons are largely absent. Nicky Morgan, who started the year as an ultra-loyal Cabinet minister prepared to help the Prime Minister out and soothe any row, has become a vociferous critic of the government, the new Peter Bone of the Tory party (without the luminous green tie). Meanwhile, the former rebels on the eurosceptic right of the party such as Steve Baker and Bernard Jenkin are walking around in a sunny state of happiness.
So the rebels are now happy. And the loyalists are now grumpy. Theresa May’s speech yesterday went down well with the eurosceptics who are most keen to hold the government’s feet to the fire to ensure that the meaning of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is a clean break from Europe. The Prime Minister has eschewed talk of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ Brexit, but she is clearly most comfortable with the negotiating position that those who were strongly pro-Leave were advocating.
The other row, on grammar schools, is more difficult. Some MPs are simply delighted that the Prime Minister proposes to lift the ban on selective education. But many others are very hungry for details because their support for the reforms is very much conditional on the detail.
But what is clear so far is that there is a great deal of goodwill towards May in the parliamentary party. Her honeymoon is not yet over – but she has her big speech to give still.