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She was greeted with the usual cheers from Government sycophants when she entered the Chamber at 11.57am but during Prime Minister’s Questions a few minutes later, Theresa May was regarded with suspicion by Conservative Brexiteers.
They have put up with an awful lot of nonsense from her and her Government so far during the Brussels negotiations. They swallowed that underwhelming Florence speech. They kept schtum when she gaily offered ever higher sums of ‘divorce payment’ to Jean-Claude Juncker. But with that fandango in Brussels on Monday their patience has frayed.
Unease - Deal - Amount - Squeaking - Opposition
Their understated unease is a great deal more powerful, theatrically, than any amount of pro-European squeaking from the Opposition or from Mother Soubry. It is more menacing, all the colder for being below the surface. You sense that they, like their Democratic Unionist allies, are deadly serious about their position and therefore see no need to exaggerate it. Hyperbole is the currency of bluffers and despots.
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con, NE Somerset) was called towards the end of the session. He stood at the far end of the House, double-breasted suit, voice unhysterical, one hand used to help convey his point. He asked Mrs May if, before her next trip to Brussels, she would ‘apply a new coat of paint to her red lines because on Monday they were starting to look a little bit pink’.
Translation - Enough - Caving - EU - Prime
Translation: we’ve had enough of this pusillanimous caving in to the EU, Prime Minister. As ever with Mr Rees-Mogg, it was put with faultless politeness. He could have been offering her a slice of lemon drizzle cake.
But it still must have stung her a little. A Labour heckler told Mr Rees-Mogg to ‘grow up!’ but it was a clever and accessible and proper question – and will certainly have meant more to viewers than all the bejargoned stuff churned...
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