LIKE a nauseous growth on an already festering wound a huge irony has appeared in the Brexit fiasco. In fact it is a double irony. Irony No 1 is the move of MPs to – in the words of one of them, Nick Boles – “take charge” of Brexit – i.e. wrench it from the government. Yet the forum in which these MPs speak so purposefully of “taking charge”, the House of Commons, has for years meekly accepted the transfer of ever more of its law-making powers to the unelected, undemocratic EU.

But equally ironic is the course of action favoured by many of the “take charge” faction once they have Brexit in their hands. This is to pass it straight to the public via a second referendum, temptingly dressed as a “people’s vote.” This allows its proponents to present themselves as fully-fledged democrats. For what could be more democratic than giving the public a second choice on Brexit?

But it’s hardly a secret that the aim of those urging the second vote is to derail Brexit. Put simply, their “taking charge” means getting the public to do their dirty work – reversing Brexit – for them. And indeed the public, worn down by the difficulties and complexities of quitting the EU might well oblige.

What is overlooked is that the present mess most probably would not have arrived if the Brexit negotiations had been conducted in a spirit of goodwill. But the intention all along of the EU has been to punish Britain for having the temerity to wish to leave – and deter any others who might dare to follow.

But the bottom line of Brexit has always been the same. It does not imply any hostility to Europe or any of its nations. It is not an expression of either parochialism or – at the other end of scale – nostalgia for the days of Empire. It simply means we wish to run our own affairs, voting in – and out – those who wield power on our behalf.

The EU’s open aim, the so-called European Project, is the creation of a superstate. Its brilliance in pursuing this has been to gradually centralise power while seeming to leave the national parliaments in tact – yet actually hollowed out. But we, the British, finally called time on this deception with the 2016 referendum. Rather than seeking ways to thwart Brexit our MPs should be proud – as indeed we should – that Britain’s citizens struck a magnificent, timely blow for government of the people, by the people, for the people.

At least Mrs May’s withdrawal deal – craven surrender – was condemned by almost everybody. It’s worth quoting a German view – from its respected Centre of Economic Studies: “Rejection is perfectly understandable because it would downgrade Britain to the status of a trade colony.”

Meanwhile, on the BBC’s Question Time cheers greeted support for a no-deal, promising the clean break most imagined Brexit would deliver. But of course removing no-deal is the priority of the MPs determined to “take charge.” They know that if this ultimate bargaining chip goes so too, very likely, will Brexit. Well, even if some former Leave voters have changed sides, there will still be hell to pay as the public’s trust in its politicians and system of government plunges to zero.