If Downing Street doesn’t grip the campaign against Patel by allies of her Permanent Secretary and othes, it may spiral out of control.
He is one of the few elements of continuity in what has been a turbulent year at the Government’s top table.
It’s not just about there being more Tory MPs. There has been a remarkable clearout of the establishment figures.
The ignorance of many MPs and ministers towards the state of seaside communities is particularly surprising as coastal constituencies elect a quarter of all MPs.
The Prime Minister falls 14 votes short – and says that the Bill will be paused while he speaks to EU leaders.
It’s a surprisingly large Government majority: 24 independents and 19 Labour MPs voted with the Government.
Amber Rudd explains: “I didn’t vote for an extension , I voted for an insurance policy against no deal… I support the Prime Minister’s deal.”
On a straight up, straight down vote on the deal, our calculation is that the Government will lose by two – though that bypasses abstentions. But such a vote is very unlikely today,
Steve Brine and Greg Clark, from whom the whip has also been removed, voted with the Government – which lost by 289 votes to 306.
Would a system of more proportional representation have seen our institutions better able to respect the results of elections?
The Brexiteers have fallen flat internationally because they overestimated Britain’s power. And they have done so domestically because they mistook a moral argument for a political one.
The data for this was collected before the Government’s string of Commons defeats – next month’s may look rather different.