We all waited with bated breath for the Prime Minister to approach the podium last night and deliver a statement to the nation.
Rumours swirled and speculated on what the announcement would be, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only person surprised by the finger-pointing we were to witness.
For the Prime Minister to play the blame game and claim MPs are the ones frustrating Brexit is a low blow. For her to pit herself against the very people she needs to get her deal through and then chastise them for doing their jobs is damaging to our democracy.
Brexit is challenging and complicated to deliver, the country is divided by it and what we needed was an explanation of why we are where we are.
MPs from across the House of Commons have been receiving hate mail and death threats just for doing what they think to be the right course of action. So the fact that the Prime Minister has now placed us all in the crosshairs again is disappointing and dangerous.
The impasse we find ourselves in is not the fault of Parliament but of a Prime Minister who has tried to ram her deal through whilst protecting it from any scrutiny.
The plan all along has been to put pressure on all the other Brexit options so that it becomes a choice is between Theresa May’s deal and something unpalatable. Recently it has been between her deal or no deal, or even more recently, her deal or no Brexit.
MPs are effectively being asked to choose between the frying pan and the fire, in the hope they will choose the former and that somehow they will back Theresa May’s deal and she can declare that she delivered Brexit.
It’s this artificial choice that is so galling and it is something Parliament has encountered before with the vote on the Iraq war – military action against Saddam Hussein or the risk of an attack on this country.
I truly hoped that the Prime Minister’s speech on Wednesday would have been a reluctant acceptance of reality – she leads a minority Government in a divided Parliament. I hoped she would say that she tried to forge a deal, but it didn’t work, so now we can discuss the other options on the table, find where a majority exists in the House of Commons and move forward.
This is why I supported an extension to Article 50, to give us some meaningful time to debate the other Brexit options, and if they fail and there’s still deadlock, consider going back to the people. This extra time should not give more space for the Prime Minister’s ‘Meaningful Vote 3’, because let’s face it, sequels are rarely better than the original.
We have a responsibility to the 17.4million people that voted leave, but a duty to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of the 66million that call the UK home.
This is going to be one of biggest and most fundamental decisions this country will ever face and that is why we have to get it right.
Sam Gyimah is the Conservative MP for East Surrey