A FORTNIGHT ago, Prime Minister Theresa May said the Withdrawal Agreement, which she has taken two long years to negotiate, was a good deal, was finalised and could not be reopened. The European Union agreed.

Last night, Mrs May practically cheered as her own MPs told her that it was not good enough and that she needed to go away and reopen it, that she needed to find “alternative arrangements” to the Irish backstop.

However, they didn’t really help her by giving a clue about what those alternatives might be, and it is difficult to see how genuine alternatives will emerge from thin air in the next two weeks when they haven’t been thought about by Britain’s crack negotiating team in the last two years, especially as the EU appears unwilling to reopen the unreopenable.

But there were positives to emerge from yesterday. The public didn’t understand why Jeremy Corbyn was refusing to speak to Mrs May but he has now changed his position.

And the biggest positive was that MPs passed a non-binding amendment rejecting a no-deal Brexit. Extreme Brexiteers must listen to this: there is real fear that no-deal will be extremely damaging. MPs have sent Mrs May back to the EU to find a compromise on the backstop but Brexiteers, too, have to significantly compromise in their intransigence.

It would be great if compromise could win through, but the differences are huge and there is no big idea to bridge them. We will probably still be stuck in this same position when MPs come to vote again in a fortnight.