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A depressing night at Westminster

In a further demonstration that the political rule book has been torn up during the Brexit process, the fact that Theresa May has reneged on her own Withdrawal Agreement and is now aiming to renegotiate with an EU that is opposed to any such move, is being presented as a triumph.

What happened on Tuesday night in Westminster is that the prime minister caved in to pressure from the extreme Brexiteers in her party as well as the DUP with whom they are now fully aligned, despite the decisive Remain vote in Northern Ireland.

So, after two years of tortuous negotiations, which produced the backstop when all other options were ruled out, Mrs May is now seeking 'alternative arrangements', as yet unspecified and with eight weeks to go until the official date of withdrawal.

It is little wonder people feel absolute despair at the lack of leadership, clarity, strategic direction and competent management of this momentous political decision.

On what was a depressing night at Westminster, one glimmer of positivity came with the vote against a no deal Brexit and while it was non-binding, there are calls for it to be regarded as a 'morally binding'.

What it showed was a majority in the House of Commons opposes crashing out of the EU and is hopefully a sign that MPs will take steps to prevent such a disastrous scenario.

But while Theresa May has been disappointing in terms of undermining the very agreement she signed up to and argued for, Jeremy Corbyn has also been found wanting in this whole debacle.

His lack of leadership, judgment and political intelligence has meant that even with the government in complete disarray, he has been unable to present himself and his party as a viable alternative.

With the EU ruling out a renegotiation of the backstop, it is far from clear where this sorry saga will go next.

However, in the absence of any movement, we will be in very difficult territory.

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