PARLIAMENT just about got it right on Tuesday – it allowed Boris Johnson’s deal to go forward for greater examination, and it voted for itself to be given time to properly consider what is a momentous change.

Mr Johnson, who seems to enjoy games of call-my-bluff, paused the progress of his Bill because he lost that second vote. He now wants an election, and so we have the odd sight of the October 31 deadline hurtling towards us and MPs sitting idle. As the Father of the House Ken Clarke pointed out, they really should be scrutinising the deal rather than wasting time so that when the EU offers a “flextension”, we are in a position to proceed.

However, Mr Johnson doesn’t trust MPs not to attempt to amend his deal, and MPs don’t trust Mr Johnson not to attempt a wizard wheeze of crashing us out without a deal at all.

Among the 19 Labour rebels who voted for Mr Johnson’s deal were three North-Easterners – Mike Hill of Hartlepool, Grahame Morris of Easington, and Emma Lewell-Buck of South Shields. This indicates how, in this leave-voting region, the Labour Party is breaking down.

Mr Johnson’s appeal at an election will be obvious – he will be able to deliver Brexit as soon as he is re-elected because of his deal, and to a Brexit-weary nation that will be tempting.

What is Labour’s clear message in response? A renegotiated deal that it will vote against? A second referendum that the party leader doesn’t want? Is it now too late for Labour to prevent itself from being steamrollered by Mr Johnson at the polls?