So many things are going woefully wrong for Theresa May and the Tories that one important story has been overshadowed.
Amid all the coughing and cockups, it has emerged that two Tory MEPs voted in favour of a motion delaying the next stage in Brexit negotiations because the UK Government has failed to resolve the most basic issues at stake.
Despite four rounds of negotiations between David Davis and Michel Barnier, the motion concludes:
“Sufficient progress has not yet been made on citizens’ rights, Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the settlement of the United Kingdom’s financial obligations.”
It had long been foreseen that the motion could cause embarrassment to the Tories during their annual conference.
Nobody though had expected Tory MEPs would back the view of Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator.
The Tory rebels are Julie Girling, who represents the South West of England and Gibraltar, and Richard Ashworth, who represents the South East of England.
They weren’t the only members of the European Conservative and Reformist group to rebel in the vote.
Half of the Tories’ group in the European Parliament joined them in voting to stop negotiations moving on to trade arrangements or abstaining.
In total, 557 MEPs voted in favour of the motion, compared to 92 who voted against and 29 who abstained.
Tory MP Robert Jennick has accused his party colleagues of behaving “appalling”:
Whatever your views of Brexit, these British MEPs, voting against further talks, are behaving appallingly https://t.co/OeOTjOwtsm
— Robert Jenrick MP (@RobertJenrick) October 4, 2017
Former Tory staffer turned broadcaster Iain Dale went further, calling the pair “traitors”:
Shouldn't the Conservative whip be withdrawn from these two Conservative MEPs? Traitors to their country and party. https://t.co/nATgaI0CPs
— Iain Dale (@IainDale) October 5, 2017
Scrapbook reckons the pair should be applauded for managing to show some political independence.
The people who are really letting the country down are weak Theresa May, embarrassing Boris Johnson and no detail David Davis…