Daily Brexit Update: Wednesday 18th July
One Tory MP who voted against the government's trade bill is reported in the Times and BBC as saying that the the deputy Tory whip, Chris Pincher, used the threat of pulling the third reading of the trade bill and replacing it with a vote of confidence in the government in order to keep the party's MPs in line.
The crucial vote in question was on an amendment that would force the government to pursue a customs union with the EU should a frictionless deal not be achieved. This would then prevent the UK being free to strike its own deals around the rest of the world.
But the government has been forced to seek participation in the EU medicines agency. So the Remainers have managed to keep the UK tied to something EU, which is something they will undoubtedly strive to use as a springboard for re-entry into the bloc.
But the big upset today may be when Boris delivers his resignation speech directly after PMQs this lunchtime. There had been earlier talk about a fuming Boris being ready to wield the knife, but according to the Telegraph his allies say he won't be making any personal attacks on the PM. We'll see.
And here is former UKIP leader Nigel Farage on Theresa May's squeak through vote:
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) July 17, 2018
And UKIP is still benefiting from the self-inflicted demise of the Tories:
YouGov poll in Times has UKIP up to 7% and listed separately again rather than as part of "others". Confirming trend of weekend poll. Confirming Tories have fallen well behind Lab. Challenge for UKIP now is to get back to double figures and turn tremor into earthquake.
— Patrick O'Flynn (@oflynnmep) July 18, 2018
While Tory MP Priti Patell channels 'Zulu':
When it's you and your fellow leave voters on Twitter defending democracy against FBPE and the EU bots pic.twitter.com/OgGMDN0Hh9
— Priti Patel 4 PM (@pritipatel4pm) July 17, 2018
As well as a warning to Tory Central about threatening to withdraw funding for those of their MPs that do not toe the central line:
If CCHQ threaten to withdraw funding from Brexiteer Tory MPs they should remember that Tory Constituency Associations have £4 million loans to CCHQ which they could withdraw and use the money to support Brexiteer Tory MPs direct!
— John Strafford (@johnstrafford) July 16, 2018
The UKIP leader, Gerard Batten, tells us what's in store from the Tories should there be a general election:
If Mrs May does go for a snap election before next March her message will be 'Vote for and my Not Really Leaving the EU Deal or get Corbyn and his Marxists'. https://t.co/05AAWxJrNG
— Gerard Batten MEP (@GerardBattenMEP) July 18, 2018
And the Telegraph reports Mark Carney as saying that a no-deal exit would cause "extreme fragmentation of the European capital market", which the 'paper is interpreting as it would be worse for the EU than for the UK. But Sky News puts the weight the other way.
The Last Leg panel on topics including Boris Johnson's resignation (video):
And Tory Remainer MP Anna Soubry asks who runs the country (video):