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Has Theresa May only delayed her Brexit defeat by a few days?

There is a gap between what the Tory Remainer rebels think the prime minister promised them and what the Brexit Secretary David Davis thinks has been promised.

They believe that if there is no Brexit deal by the end of November, the government must clear its next course of action with MPs. That effectively rules out threatening the EU with a no-deal Brexit, because the Commons will not approve a no-deal Brexit.

May also told them she would try to capture another of their concerns, as enshrined in Grieve’s amendment to the EU Withdrawal bill - which would much more explicitly give MPs the whip hand in Brexit talks, if May has still not done a deal with the EU by February next year.

But these putative pledges by the PM are inconsistent with Tuesday night’s statement by Davis’s officials that any new amendment relating to the power of MPs to accept or reject a Brexit deal must not restrict her negotiating freedom - or restrict her ability to sign whatever treaty with the EU she would like.

Well what the Remainer MPs thought they heard from May does not seem compatible with Davis’s red lines.

This is how one of the rebels put it to me: “I think the issue that has been decided is not that there could never be a No-Deal Brexit. But there is going to be no binary choice of the deal on the table or no deal, with Parliament bypassed. There were 14 of us in the room. We have no doubt of what was going on."

If that is what May accepts and tries to enshrine in law, the True Brexiters in and out of the Cabinet will be livid.

And what if the Brexiters force May to renege on her putative pledge to the Remainer rebels? One says: “If we do not get what we were promised the Government will be defeated after we have amended the Bill in the Lords”.

Whoa!