Brexit deal: Meetings aren’t a Plan B for vanguard news today ,
Meetings, on their own, are not a Plan B. Conversations, are not by themselves, compromises.
To get any deal done where there are such clashing views all around, it requires give and take. It feels like a political lifetime since there has been a fundamental dispute in the cabinet, in the Tory party and across Parliament. Theresa May has stubbornly, although understandably, tried to plot a middle course.
But that has failed so spectacularly at this stage. Ultimately she may well be left with the same dilemma of which way to tack.
It’s clear, wide open, in public, that the cabinet is at odds with each other. Just listen to David Gauke and Liam Fox on whether a customs union could be a compromise for example.
The answer for her is not suddenly going to emerge from a unified tier of her top team. There are perhaps five or six of the cabinet who would be happy to see that kind of relationship as a way to bring Labour on board.
You may well wonder if that isn’t a contradiction in terms.
But the principle would be that the UK would pay the divorce bill already agreed and over a two-year period construct a series of side deals on specific issues, rather than try to come up with a whole new comprehensive plan.
There are already intense arguments about whether that’s remotely realistic. But the overall point is that the prime minister cannot just therefore look to her top colleagues for an immediate solution.
One cabinet minister involved in the talks suggested that many MPs still needed to understand how the agreement they have reached with the EU worked.