12 Mar 2019

Brexit deal omens for government

The Prime Minister will like the headlines that some pro-Brexit newspapers have this morning. She should savour them as the rest of the day might not go so well.

There are suggestions swirling that the Attorney General last night did not feel able to write the letter the government wants and desperately needs, lending his weight to their new legal documents and proclaiming that they transform the nature of the backstop.

My colleague Jon Snow has been told that senior lawyers were contacted last night to help the attorney general come to a different view. The Attorney General himself has tweeted out a one word response to that: “bollocks.” We assume that he didn’t accidentally press “send” on his actual legal opinion.

The ERG say there is now doubt whether the Attorney will publish his legal opinion before the Commons sitting starts (1130) as David Lidington speaking to the House last night used the formulation “as soon as possible.”

The Conservative MPs’ Whatsapp group has some supportive noises for the new documents from some MPs flying around but some ERG supporters in the MPs’ tearoom just now sounded very sceptical. One said: “It changes nothing,” and that was an ERG MP who most of his colleagues had on “defection watch” and had assumed was yearning to join the government ranks.

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