The game is up Prime Minister

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The game is up Prime Minister

The chances of the Prime Minister consummating her new-found friendship with Jezza are slim. However, the talks may be so terrifying to Tory rebels that they finally vote for the PM’s withdrawal agreement, says Peter Bingle.

After a marathon eight hours with her divided Cabinet, during which they had their mobile phones confiscated and at the end were plied with alcohol, the Prime Minister addressed a weary nation.

Expectations were raised. Had the Cabinet got its act together? Was the PM finally going to reveal a slither of statesmanship? Had St Jude answered the prayers of dispirited Tory MPs? Of course not …

Looking frightening like Alastair Sim as the Headmistress (Miss Millicent Fritton) of St Trinian’s, the PM called for national unity and then revealed the outcome of eight hours of Cabinet discussion – an invitation to Jeremy Corbyn to work with her on a withdrawal agreement that they could jointly propose to the House of Commons and an admission that she would be asking the EU for a further short extension of Article 50. It might have been better for all concerned if she had plied the Cabinet with alcohol at the start of the session rather than at the end of it! Nick Boles is correct. This is the most hopeless Cabinet in living memory, perhaps in modern times.

The nation blinked and then asked itself whether it had heard her correctly. Had she really invited into Number 10 an unreformed Marxist, who had previously refused to sit in the same room as Chuka, to help her deliver Brexit? Amazingly, she had …

Tory MPs rushed to the nearest bar to console themselves that by morning everything would be OK. In their hearts, of course, they knew the brutal realpolitik of Brexit. A hardcore group of Tory headbangers had pushed the PM to the brink. There was nowhere else for her to go except into the arms of a startled and bemused Jeremy Corbyn.

The PM will now rightly face the wrath and anger of Tory MPs, Tory activists and above all Tory voters. I would not want to be a Tory candidate in May! In their eyes she had betrayed 17.4 million people who supported Brexit. Corbyn (never a fan of the EU) is also going to have a difficult time with his party. Does he want to go down in history as the Labour Leader who delivered a Tory Brexit? What about the Labour memberships’ overwhelming desire for a second vote? He is on the horns of a dilemma.

The chances of the PM consummating her new-found friendship with Jezza are slim. Their respective world views could not be more different. Yet, inadvertently, the prospect of a consummation might so terrify Tory MPs that they finally vote for the PM’s withdrawal agreement. If not, God knows …

There is the rightly famous dinner party scene in Carry On Up The Khyber in which Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth and Sid James continue eating and drinking accompanied by a string quartet whilst they are being attacked with rockets from the locals. After a rocket causes the ceiling to collapse, Joan Sims giggles and says, holding a glass of wine, to her guests : “I think I’m plastered.”

I suspect yesterday’s Cabinet meeting was rather less fun …

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  • Peter Bingle
    Peter Bingle
    Peter is the Founder of Terrapin Communications. With a career in politics and communications that has spanned almost four decades, he is one of the country's leading public affairs practitioners. His career has seen him advise many top companies, including McDonald’s, HSBC, L’Oreal, Permira, Motorola, Camelot, Rolls Royce & Kellogg's.
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