Brexit: A risky pitch of Parliament versus public

Theresa May Image copyright EPA

It's not me - it's them.

Theresa May has pitched herself tonight against Parliament on the side of the people.

It's true that No 10 believes strongly that swathes of the population have simply had enough of Brexit.

The way it drowns out other public concerns, the way its processes, contradictions and clamour have wrapped their way around the normal workings of Westminster - remote at the best of times and downright bizarre at the worst.

But, when it is MPs the prime minister needs to get on side if she is to have a real chance of finally getting her deal through next week - third time extremely lucky - the choice of message was not without risk.

On her own side, some MPs have openly questioned the merit of her evening at the podium - toxic and delusional are some of the descriptions given.

Yet Theresa May's allies say, at this vital moment, she felt it imperative to express that she has a line - staying in the EU three years after the referendum - that she is not, as prime minister, willing to cross.

For those Brexiteers who want her gone, that is not, it's understood, a promise that she would quit in return for support for her deal.

But No 10 must know too that choice, her fate, is not just in her hands, but in Parliament's and, as she prepares to travel to Brussels, in the grasp of the European Union.

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