Right now, the government can’t try and sell the Brexit agreement as Theresa May is currently engaged in the delicate task of trying to persuade Cabinet Ministers—several of whom will have deep doubts about it—to back it. But Boris Johnson, the ERG and the DUP are trying to fill the vacuum this silence from the government is creating. They are trying to define the deal before May has even sold the Cabinet on it.
Now, their critics will be quick to point out that they haven’t actually read it. However, the broad contours of this deal are relatively well established. The problem for May is that this focus on the broad outline of the deal makes it harder for her to emphasise the progress she has made. Her critics are trying to ensure that when she unveils her deal tomorrow she is returning serve; that she is having to respond to their points rather than simply promoting what she has agreed.
The DUP’s reaction to reports of the deal is what should worry Number 10 most. The parliamentary arithmetic without the DUP’s support is very hard for the government. Also, if the DUP are opposed, it makes it harder to sell the compromises involved in this agreement as being worth it to protect the Union.
Getting a deal with the EU has been an exhausting task for this government. Getting it through parliament, though, might be even more difficult.