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Theresa May’s handling of Brexit is pitiful: Mirror Politics morning briefing

We learned a lot about Brexit yesterday.

That David Davis is not up to the job, Theresa May is still scrambling to rescue the deal and Labour is still wrestling with how far it moves towards a more pro-Remain position.

Above all, we had confirmation of what many had suggested but until yesterday had never been officially acknowledged: the Government has still not agreed what sort of Brexit it wants.

Philip Hammond, when not insulting the disabled, revealed the Cabinet has not yet had a full discussion on what is the preferred “end state position” for the UK after Brexit .

There is an obvious reason for this: Theresa May is too debilitated to impose a collective position on a fractious and fractured Cabinet.

Even if she has a plan, which is questionable, maintaining Conservative unity has taken precedence over the national interest.

Theresa May is engaged in a frantic round of telephone diplomacy

It is extraordinary that 18 months on since the vote to leave and nine months since the triggering of Article 50 the Government has no idea of what sort of trading relationship we should have.

With no blueprint the vacuum has been filled by Tory infighting.

Last night 19 Conservative MPs backing a soft Brexit, including former ministers Stephen Crabb, Nicky Morgan and Anna Soubry, wrote to the Prime Minister urging her to ignore the calls of the hard Brexiteers who are blind to the dangers of no deal.

The Brexiteers hit the airwaves this morning to insist, contrary to the evidence , there are no downsides to walking away without a deal.

The Prime Minister will hit the phones again today in a frantic race against time to rescue the Brexit negotiations.

The stakes were set out by the President of the CBI last night when he warned that if there is no agreement at next week’s EU summit then firms will execute their contingency plans and start moving out of the UK.

Mrs May is expected today to make a fresh offer to Dublin and the DUP on the Irish border question .

She spoke to the Irish premier Leo Varadkar again last night to tell him she was still “working hard to find a specific solution to the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland.”

Theresa May told the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar she is still working on a deal

This issue should surely have been resolved months ago, not a few days before a crucial EU summit.

It was hardly a surprise that Northern Ireland could prove problematic when the EU has been explicit from the moment the negotiations started that it needed to be resolved, along with EU citizens’ rights and the divorce bill, as a precondition for moving to trade talks.

That said, it is still possible a breakthrough can be achieved and trade negotiations will commence.

Mrs May is now relying on the pity of the EU with Jean-Claude Juncker reportedly willing to cut her some slack for fear she could be toppled without a deal.

This is hardly negotiating from a position of strength.

The Commons starts with Michael Gove taking Defra questions.

After the business statement from Andrea Leadsom there is an important backbench debate, led by Tory MP Bob Neill, on prison reform.

The Brexit select committee is also meeting today in Amargh where it will hear from the Police Service Northern Ireland and various HMRC officials.

We have recorded a new Ayes to the Left podcast on all latest Brexit developments and what they spell for May's future.

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