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You could almost hear MPs headbutt the wall in anger: HENRY DEEDES sees PM deliver an emotional plea

Stand by! Man the braces! Look lively there! The Prime Minister is giving her tattered Brexit deal one final try.

That’s right, that same unloved bill that’s already suffered a hat-trick of heavy defeats in the Commons. The one that’s already been repaired more times than Andy Murray’s gammy hip bone.

Yesterday, Theresa May was cranking it up for comeback No 4. Crikey, not even Elvis managed that many. This time, though, it comes with multiple sweeties attached. Something here for everyone, as those old cruise liner ads used to say.

She made her announcement at City accountant PwC’s head offices, a starchy, impersonal building off The Strand in central London. Sketchwriters, incidentally, strictly not invited.

Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech detailing a new Brexit deal on May 21, 2019 in London, England

There was a brief, unwarranted introduction from the firm’s chief bean-counter, Kevin Ellis, who let it be known it was an exciting week at PwC because they were opening their new Bradford offices. With such remarks, I dread to think what constitutes a dull week chez PwC.

The PM strode to the podium with a slightly feline gait, sporting a newly-primped hairdo. For once, there was a dash of colour in her gills. Perhaps this was a result of that morning’s Cabinet meeting where discussions were said, at times, to have become ‘full and frank’ – euphemistic politico-speak for screaming matches.

   

More from Henry Deedes for the Daily Mail...

So accustomed have we become to last-minute pleas from Mrs May in recent months, the language of her speeches is now strikingly familiar.

‘I have tried everything I possibly can to find a way through... I have listened to concerns from across the political spectrum... What matters now is honouring the result of the referendum.’ But there was a more wounded tone than we have heard before.

Delivering Brexit, she admitted, had proved far harder than she anticipated.

‘I’ve tried everything I possibly can to get this through,’ she said. ‘I’ve even offered to give up the job I love.’

Mrs May has never previously displayed much of an emotional repertoire, least of all self-pity. But here she deployed it to most powerful effect. Indeed, many people outside Westminster with whom I speak about Brexit believe she has made the best of an impossible job. Of course, considering she needs the votes of Labour MPs to get her deal though, she was careful not to insult them. Indeed, this was as much a pitch to them as it was to members of her own party.

The Prime Minister announced that MPs will be able to vote on another referendum if they back the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill

Talks between the Government and Labour had failed to find a compromise, she admitted, but that does not mean we should give up.

From the front of the audience there were loyal nods from ambitious young Brexit ministers James Cleverly and Robin Walker.

Then came the meat and potatoes of her revised deal. There were sops galore to all those Remainers: a temporary customs union, a possible second referendum, guarantees on workers’ rights. You could almost hear excitable hard-Brexiteer bruiser Mark Francois MP headbutting his office wall in anger.

Further pleas and compromises.

Mrs May said this was our last chance of avoiding ‘a nightmare future of permanently polarised politics’. She ended with an upbeat pitch.

Beyond her deal she foresaw a land of milk and honey. Friction-free trade; a common fisheries policy; no more annual payments to Brussels. Or, as she put it: ‘A future where the people of the UK determine the road ahead for the country we all love.’ As speeches go, it was certainly one of the PM’s better efforts, though she lacks that emotional throttle. She could really do with an injection of Hague wit or Heseltine passion.

It doesn’t help that at times her voice croaks as though she’s speaking through a synthetic larynx.

Then, no sooner had she turned from the stage, than hard-Brexit Tory MPs were rubbishing everything she’d said. And an unseemly squabble broke out on Twitter between pro-Leave MP Andrea Jenkyns (Tory – Morley and Outwood), who said the PM was ‘subcontracting Brexit to Jeremy Corbyn’, and several of her fellow backbenchers.

I fear we are in for a long, hot summer.

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