Theresa May’s statement to the Commons didn’t contain anything dramatic. But it did show how May is going to try and pass a deal. There was lots in the statement on workers’ rights, an attempt to make the deal more palatable to Labour MPs. But May also sought to reassure her own side by ruling out Jeremy Corbyn’s customs union plan far more explicitly than she did in her Sunday night letter to him.
There was little sign of a cross party consensus in May and Corbyn’s exchanges. The tone was, predictably, partisan. Things became even more heated when the SNP leader Ian Blackford got involved. He shouted ‘liar’ at May across the chamber as she responded to him, a remark that the Speaker forced him to withdraw.
May’s commitment that there will be another amendable motion before the end of this month means that the Valentine’s day votes will not be that dramatic. Why, because it means that the ministers who are considering resigning to vote for Cooper-Boles, which would compel the government to ask for an extension to Article 50 if no agreement has been reached, do not have to do so this week as there’ll be another chance to pass the amendment later this month. So it looks like this week won’t actually tell us much about how this whole situation is going to resolve itself.