“The circus rolled back into town on Wednesday,” says Iain Martin in The Times. In a Westminster committee room, Boris Johnson “bobbed and weaved” in a sad attempt to avoid being removed from parliament over allegations he misled the Commons over Partygate. In the chamber, a “back-to-the-future Brexit rebellion” threatened. Three former Tory leaders – Johnson, Liz Truss and Iain Duncan Smith – announced they would vote against Rishi Sunak’s deal with the EU over Northern Ireland, as did the Tory Brexiteer European Research Group and the Democratic Unionist Party (motto: “Ulster says no, no matter the question”).
It all felt “horribly familiar” – the old gang all lining up to fight another “depressing battle in the interminable Brexit wars”. Then it dawned on me: this is finally the end of a “truly terrible period of politics”. Johnson back in Westminster, the “retro rebellion”, the whole ridiculous circus – it all looks “dated and doomed”. A weary country with more to worry about than these old acrimonies is moving on. “Wednesday was the death rattle of Brexit impossibilism.” Shortly after this “happy thought” occurred to me, the result of the Commons vote on the Northern Ireland protocol came through and confirmed it. After “all that huffing and puffing”, just 22 Tory MPs rebelled against Sunak’s deal. There are plenty more fights to come, of course, but they can wait. For now, let’s bask in the “blessed end of the Brexit wars”.