Conservative Euro-skeptics were basking in the light of the camera in front of Westminster on Wednesday, celebrating their success in the fact that Teresa May returned to Brussels with a new aggressive Brexit negotiating strategy.
But inside the Gothic building, the pro-European Tories were preparing a counterattack, claiming that their colleagues from Brexiter were aware by mid-February that the obvious victory of this week was Pyrrhic.
“Just wait until next month,” said one pro-European minister. Mrs. May’s decision to return to Brussels in search of a better deal won her some time, but the Tory civil war was only suspended.
Brexiter Tories filled the air on Wednesday, claiming that a decisive vote in the House of Commons from 317 to 301 Tuesday evening gave the British Prime Minister the mandate she needed to review her own withdrawal deal, and the Irish backing concluded in her.
The fact that EU leaders have repeatedly insisted over the past six months that any deal with Brexit should include support – an insurance policy against the physical border in Ireland – does not give European skeptics strength.
“It’s their problem, not ours,” said Mike Penning, a former defense minister, who insists that the EU will collapse at the eleventh hour and make the concessions required by euro skeptics. “They have to deal with this. We told them what they wanted. ”
Despite the fact that they insist that Brussels will bow to economic pressure in order to ensure a smooth and smooth Brexit, European skeptics have a spare position; If the EU plays hardball, Britain can simply leave on March 29 without any deals.
“If they sit back, the deal will again be rejected in the House of Commons, and we will leave without a deal,” said Marc François, vice-chairman of the European research group advocating Brexit, who emphasized the exit bill Britain agreed to pay for the deal Mrs. May . "Then they won’t get their 39 billion pounds."
At this point, there are all signs that Brussels is not ready to renew the exit agreement and that Mrs. May will just waste two more weeks.
The Prime Minister promised to provide updated information on the Brexit talks no later than February 13 and will give MPs the opportunity to vote for plans for the next day.
EU officials may have little incentive to move up to this, without a guarantee that any concessions will matter, and little clarity about the specifics of the UK support requirement. Brussels is also well aware that the situation in the House of Commons may change again.
Voices scheduled for February 14 – on the condition that Mrs. May somehow did not make a deal before – are perceived by pro-Europeans as the moment of the beginning of a retaliatory strike. This is what Phillip Hammond, the chancellor of the treasury, called "noon" when members of parliament mobilize to stop exiting without a deal.
Despite the fact that this week was defeated by the communities, the pro-EU party hopes to take revenge. On Wednesday, pro-European Tories, leading among whom were ministers such as Amber Rudd, David Gauke, and Greg Clark, were negotiating how to resolve the situation in Brussels, leading to the chaos of abandoning the deal.
Some ministers held talks with prominent like-minded parliamentarians, recognizing that only an inter-party coalition of deputies could succeed in taking control of the parliamentary schedule and passing laws to suspend Brexit.
Arithmetic will be tough. Yvette Cooper's amendment from the Labor Party, which set the stage for a legislative framework to postpone Brexit if Ms. May could not get parliamentary approval for her deal, was lost on Tuesday 321 – 298.
The fact that about 14 Labor MPs voted against Cooper’s actions, and 11 more abstained — they wanted to avoid accusations that they were trying to stop Brexit — was named by the Tory Minister as “disturbing.”
The pro-European Tory ministers did not fulfill their threat of resigning to vote for the Cooper amendment – they argued that it was not the right moment – but they say they will do it if necessary when the vote can take place on February 14.
To win, at least a dozen more Tory deputies would have to support an updated proposal to ban deals – negotiations were going on on Wednesday about what it might look like – in addition to the 16 europhiles who supported the Cooper amendment.
This will be a moment of truth for Tory pro-Europeans; Mr Hammond, Miss Rudd and
Mr. Clark is among those who do not exclude the resignation of their ministerial posts, if necessary, to try to stop the withdrawal from the transaction.
If they really succeed in stopping the exit without a deal, the pressure on the ERG will return; Will its members accept the agreement of Mrs. May — perhaps with a modest change from Brussels — or risk seeing a postponement of Brexit or even its cancellation in elections or a second referendum?
Some moderate members of the ERG believe that in the end they will have to retreat. One of them said that the February 14 vote to end the inaction of Brexit could turn into a “slaughter for Valentine’s Day” for euro skeptics.
"Then it becomes a deal of the prime minister, or not Brexit," said the deputy. “This means that the prime minister gets her way, because then we vote for her deal. This will be the biggest return after Lazarus.
“I suspect that most mid-level opponents would think that this is our last chance to get Brexit and therefore vote for the prime minister’s deal”
Another member of Euroskeptic said: "Last night could be the beginning of a decision, or it could cause a two-week delay before a massive collapse."