The confusion about what precisely the government promised those Tory MPs attracted to the Grieve amendment hasn’t yet been cleared up. Today, Number 10 is saying that Part C of the Grieve amendment, which would have allowed the Commons to effectively direct the government if there wasn’t a deal by the 15th of February, is off the table. But several of those who went to see Theresa May last night think that she indicated the government would come up with its own, different version of C. In other words, that there hadn’t been a blanket rejection of C.
Now, the word is that the government’s proposed amendment, which it will move in the Lords next week, will be published tomorrow. This will tell us how far the government has gone to meet the rebels’ concerns.
The problem for the government is this. Go too far, and the Brexiteers will be even crosser than they are today. They’ll feel that the government is giving too much to those in parliament who want the softest possible Brexit. But if they don’t go far enough, the Tory rebels may well team up with the government to push through the Lords amendment on the meaningful vote which goes even further than Dominic Grieve’s.