Breaking his long silence to launch his memoirs yesterday, David Cameron said a second referendum on Brexit could not be ruled out.
It would be a foolish person who ruled anything in or out at the moment but there is a growing sense that the confusion and controversy engulfing Westminster – and the need to find a solution – is making a Brexit deal more likely.
It can be true the PM does want a deal and simultaneously true that, until the past few days, the majority of effort was being invested in no-deal preparations. I saw that in meetings in Westminster last week. No-deal prep is well under way, but I now detect a strong desire to reach a deal.
Why? Because our politics, our politicians, our political parties and our country are all locked into a vicious game of Victors and Victims. There is a real danger that nobody wins and we all lose. We will all have opinions about the tactics being deployed by the politicians. But I just wonder if the way out is to present the Commons with another chance to settle the issue.
It could be no-deal versus Bo-deal. And the new deal might be the May Deal with knobs and whistles and spin. No change to the Withdrawal Agreement but new clarification to the political declaration on the backstop.
In a free vote, I’m sure the May Deal would win. A new deal more so. With even a whipped vote, it might still. That might be the best way for Boris Johnson to move on.
There are millions who just want it over. And there are politicians in every party scared witless of what a General Election will bring if it’s held before Brexit is sorted.
It won’t be easy. Tomorrow the PM meets European leaders. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court meets to rule on whether prorogation of Parliament was lawful.
And the seemingly most intractable issue of all still won’t go away.
So we need to talk about the other “B” word. The backstop.
The EU has insisted any Brexit deal must contain the backstop.
After Brexit, the two parts of Ireland could be in different customs regimes, which could mean products being checked at the border.
The preference of both sides is to prevent this happening through a trade deal. However, the UK’s current red lines, which include leaving the customs union and the single market, make that very difficult.
A technological solution for the border is favoured by many Brexit supporters but the EU is sceptical about whether it can work if the rules around some goods and services diverge.
And here we face the conundrum. There is a growing belief that technology would prove an effective answer. The greatest believers of this are often the most ardent Leavers. The same people who blocked Brexit three times in Parliament because, they say, they can’t stomach the backstop. The one they say won’t be needed because of technology.
It leaves the distinct impression the B word has been an excuse, not a reason, to vote against the deal.
Maybe, just maybe, that’s about to change.