There is a pause this week in the formal business of Brexit. But things swing back into action next week when the House of Commons will be given another opportunity to endorse Theresa May’s proposed withdrawal deal.
If the deal goes through, parliament will have the chance to focus more on other issues, such as the energy white paper that was promised in November by business secretary of state Greg Clark with the ringing claim that the energy “trilemma” is dead.
Richard Harrington, a member of Clark’s ministerial team, revealed a couple of weeks ago that the paper is due to be published in the “early summer”. The need to get on with this long overdue policy shake-up has only increased following the suspension of Hitachi’s nuclear new-build plans in the UK.
But whether Clark and his team will still be in post by then must be a moot point.
Clark as well as Harrington and energy minister Claire Perry were among the six ministers who publicly defied May’s refusal to rule out a Brexit “no deal” by saying they would resign rather than allow this to happen.
The PM gave ground by saying she would give MPs the opportunity for a vote on extending the UK’s withdrawal if she cannot secure backing for her deal.
However, the public display of defiance will not have gone unnoticed by May, who has a reputation for holding grudges.
The defiance of Clark and co will have riled Brexiteers and May loyalists alike, increasing the odds that their heads could be demanded as part of a wider and overdue Cabinet reshuffle.