Theresa May tells ITV News: All ministers have to sell her Brexit plan and there'll be no more dissent

Credit: ITV News

The PM is certainly a riddle within her own enigma.

She daily faces stresses, accidents, challenges greater than any prime minister of modern times, and typically seems unflappable.

And yet she conceded to me that she finds watching England in the World Cup almost unbearably tense - and can only do it while being distracted by work or something else.

Nor, when I saw her today, did she allow herself even a moment of triumphalism, having achieved what many thought wholly impossible - namely uniting the Brexiters and Remainers in her Cabinet behind a plan for our future trading relationship with the EU.

  • Watch Theresa May's interview with Robert Peston in full

As I've been banging on about for days, what is truly remarkable is that the Brexiter ministers - Johnson, Gove, Davis, Leadsom et al - have agreed to a plan that would see standards for the food we produce and eat and the goods we make and buy being set in Brussels in perpetuity.

Not quite taking back control, is it?

Theresa May however is utterly determined to take back control - of her own Cabinet that is - as she told me in an interview for ITV News.

She said: "When the referendum was announced, David Cameron suspended what is called collective responsibility, recognising people would want to campaign on different sides of the argument.

Now what was clear at the cabinet meeting was a feeling that we come together now in collective responsibly, that we go out in unity and we go out and sell this deal to our European colleagues...

The mood at the meeting last night was very clear that we have agreed this deal and we want to move forward together in the interests of the UK".

Ministers thrashed out details at Chequers on Friday. Credit: PA

Or to put it another way, henceforth she will not tolerate dissent from her ministers on the future of Britain's relationship with the EU.

Which is a big shout out to her foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in particular to shape up or ship out.

Equally striking was that she said she and her fellow ministers would all sell the Brexit plan to their opposite numbers in EU governments - so the approach of mainly relying on David Davis's negotiating prowess in talks with Michel Barnier is well and truly binned.

May said she and her fellow ministers would all sell the Brexit plan to their opposite numbers in EU governments Credit: PA

She said: "There will be discussion I'll be having with leaders... Other ministers across government will be out there across the EU member states in the coming weeks, speaking to their opposite numbers and speaking to others".

I also asked her whether she would reconsider her decision that no minister should represent Britain in Russia at the World Cup.

She replied: "I have always said we take it every game at a time, as Gareth Southgate has said for his team. But there is a reason we have stayed away and that is because there was an attack that took place on the streets of a British city".

So if England go all the way to the final, perhaps the PM will be in Moscow, watching the game through fingers over her eyes.