This is going to become very, very interesting indeed:
MPs will be challenged by Theresa May to explicitly back her to trigger Brexit by April in the House of Commons on Wednesday, a Tory MP has revealed.
The Prime Minister will hope the move fends off a potential Commons rebellion as up to 40 Tory backbenchers were thought to be ready to back a Labour motion calling for her to set out her Brexit plan.
On the one hand May is conceding to Labour and rebellious pro-EU Conservatives; on the other hand, she’s also calling their bluff:
An amendment in the name of Mrs May will accept the Labour motion, allowing potentially rebellious Tories to back it, prominent Eurosceptic Steve Baker revealed in a tweet in the middle of the second day of the Supreme Court hearing.
But it will also challenge them to “respect the wishes” of voters in the referendum and call on the Government to trigger Article 50 by the end of March – in accordance with the timetable set out by the PM.
So yes, the rebellious Tories and Labour get what they want, but May then wants to force them to take a position: will they publicly respect the wishes of British voters or will they do whatever the heck they want to do, regardless of whether voters support them or not? The move obviously sets those MPs up for a bitter reelection fight: vote against Brexit and voters will undoubtedly end your career next time they vote for Parliament.
Are there any elected MPs willing to take that risk? May is obviously betting there aren’t. At least, not enough to block Article 50 (and therefore Brexit) from being triggered.