It is painfully cringe-making watching Ming at PMQs. His confidence is shot to pieces, the house enjoys mocking him, he is failing and he himself knows it. Today Blair checked himself as Ming went off notes and mumbled his question, Blair struggled to suppress a smirk. So bad was the meandering question that Blair restrained himself and didn’t counter-punch. Professional politicians on all sides recognised that as a merciful professional courtesy to a man in deep difficulties. The LibDems need to pension Ming off on “health grounds” and draft Clegg in sharpish.
“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust,” he told the PM, concluding: “I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election… I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom. I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit…”