The lady is very much for turning

Well, once again we see that one underestimates the incompetence of British politicians at one’s peril. Having adamantly stuck to the line that there would be no postponement of the vote on the Brexit deal, the government this afternoon performed a shameless volte-face and deferred said vote to some unspecified time in the future.

The ostensible reason for this is to allow Theresa May to travel to Brussels and negotiate a better deal, but, unsurprisingly, the general reaction in European capitals has been a rolling of eyes, a muttering of the local version of “FFS”, and a reiteration of the unanimous EU position that the offer on the table will not be changed.

Since it is inconceivable that May could have expected any other response, one can only conclude that this latest manoeuvre is an attempt to bounce nervous Remainers into backing her, by wasting time that could have been used to craft a better alternative to the nightmare of a no-deal scenario.

Will this work? One might think that, faced with such a cynical ploy, Parliament would rise up and hold the executive to account, but that, I fear, is to expect too much. There could be a lot of sound and fury in the next few days, but she might just get away with it.

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