Last week, George Eustice became the latest minister (the majority of whom have been Brexiteers) to quit the government, resigning in protest at Theresa May’s plan to give MPs a vote on delaying Brexit.
In his first interview since leaving the government, Eustice, who held the post of farming minister, went even further, stating that farming bosses were ‘wrong’ to fear a no deal Brexit - a dramatic statement which puts him at odds with Environment Secretary and chief Brexiteer Michael Gove.
Eustice isn’t the only former minister to flirt with no deal: both David Davis and Boris Johnson have suggested that no deal remains a better option than the government’s current plan and its much-discussed backstop.
But while they may claim that opinion is hardening behind them, the fact remains that the no dealers face considerable opposition. Many senior ministers continue to believe that ‘crashing out’ of Europe would be disastrous for the UK - and they have shown their ability to extract concessions from Number 10.
One of the more cerebral opponents of no deal has been Dominic Grieve. From the backbenches, the former attorney general has applied his legal mind to thwarting the government’s plans and increasing the power of parliament in the Brexit process. More controversially he’s one of nine Tory MPs to openly call for a second referendum.
Here at The Spectator, we couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie. On Monday 11th March, we’re bringing Eustice and Grieve together for a crunch debate, chaired by Fraser Nelson, on the future of Brexit.
As well Eustice and Grieve, we’ll be joined by two other Conservative MPs who represent different sides: Suella Braverman, the former Brexit minister who quit in November in protest at the withdrawal agreement, and Nicky Morgan, the former Education Secretary who has - at least until now - supported the government’s position.
Joining them will be James Forsyth, our political editor, who last week revealed how the Prime Minister was doing her bit to make no deal less likely - including refusing to answer questions from senior ministers as to how she would direct the government to vote in a no deal showdown and snapping back at suggestions that Olly Robbins was running the show.
With the second meaningful vote expected to take place on Tuesday, and the Commons potentially voting on no deal (and/or extending Brexit) the day after, next week looks set to be one of the most consequential so far for the future of Brexit. Join us on Monday to get to the bottom of what’s really going on.
We’re offering Spectator subscribers - no dealers, Remainers and everyone in between - the chance to join us for a special rate of £22.50. We hope to see you there. It's going to be a good one.