Diary - a sad day for democracy

This was always going to be a depressing day, and so it proved. The Prime Minister had brought her Meaningful Vote back to the Commons for the second time. I'm afraid many of us were very sceptical, especially after Attorney General Geoffrey Cox told us during his Statement that, despite Government assurances that changes had been made to the deal, the UK could still not leave the EU unilaterally. The news darkened when the DUP said it could not support the deal. After a number of private meetings, I went with Sir John Redwood and Sir Bill Cash to see Mrs May at 1600. Our aim was to encourage her to stick to her guns and get Brexit over the line on 29 March, which is only days away. The exchanges are confidential, but I think it fair to say we failed. My own view is that Mrs May is frightened of Remainer resignations in her Cabinet and acts accordingly. This is most unfortunate. The ERG meeting was at 1700 and it was packed. The meeting lasted for an hour as MPs debated how they would vote and why. Personally, my mind was made up for many reasons, and you can read a very good brief on why the deal is so bad on my website. It's a sell-out basically, with the very real chance of the UK being stuck in the Backstop indefinitely. In addition, we could not betray the DUP and that factor weighed heavily on my mind. The Government was defeated by 149 votes, which gave no one any pleasure at all. It distresses me that so many MPs in the House are intentionally doing their level best to keep us in the EU. On we go.