Remarkably, Theresa May made it through PMQs today pretty much unscathed. I cannot, though, report that this was because she launched a brilliant counter-attack or came with a way to break through the current Brexit impasse. Rather it was because Jeremy Corbyn’s questions lacked forensic precision. One suspects that if Robin Cook had been at the other despatch box, May would have had a far tougher time.
There was a collective parliamentary failure today because, at the end of the 45 minute session of PMQs, we knew no more about the state of the Brexit negotiations than we did when we went in. When the DUP’s Jim Shannon asked for a commitment that nothing will be done to create any barrier constitutionally, politically, economically or regulatory between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, May said yes before going on to cite the all Ireland electricity market which is a way in which Northern Ireland is already different.
Tory Brexiteers are clearly becoming more concerned too. But it is worth noting that their handling of the Prime Minister was fairly gentle; Jacob Rees-Mogg asking the Prime Minister to apply a fresh set of paint to her red lines is hardly bodyline bowling. But May will know that her room for manoeuvre whenever she returns to Brussels is severely limited, and not just by the DUP.