The DUP were shown an early draft of Brussel's proposed legal text by the UK government ahead of its publication on Wednesday. After the painful lesson of December when Arlene Foster almost pulled the plug on Theresa May's plan to achieve 'sufficient progress' after she was not consulted on the wording, the government is learning from its mistakes. So, when the DUP got up at PMQs and asked what the Prime Minister thought of it, they already knew the answer. 'They've learnt their lesson from the last time,' a DUP source explains. 'That wording from Brussels was like a letter to santa, it's a fiction. But we knew it was coming.'
It's not just the DUP who the government is taking more care with nowadays. There is an amped up effort to keep the various Brexit tribes within the Conservative party on side. Eurosceptic MPs say they were also looped in early on the EU draft wording – something that didn't happened in the December stage one negotiations. 'They've been much better at letting us know what is going on and what is to be expected,' one explains. In that vein, several Brexiteer MPs have been told they should expect a conference call this evening on the contents of May's big Brexit speech.
Of course, were they to take great umbrage with the contents, it's hard to see how much they could change the night before the event when Cabinet has already agreed on it. But regardless, what the new tactics show is that Theresa May is learning from her mistakes. There had been a feeling among Tory MPs that there was a growing bunker mentality at No 10. This approach suggests they realise the need to carry as many people with them as possible. After all, No 10 believes it will only be able to pass the final deal if they bring nearly every Conservative MP with them.