IT was an evening of extraordinary drama that would have been far more gripping or compelling than recent blockbusters like The Bodyguard or Game of Thrones if only it hadn’t been devastatingly real.

The future of the country is at stake; the Prime Minister has lost control of her own Government, her own ministers and her own party and yet the opposition is not in a position to bring her down or even put forward a viable alternative. Brexiteers may see it as an establishment conspiracy to stop Brexit happening but really it is a failure of politicians like David Cameron to be honest – it was fundamentally dishonest to allow people to think that a simple yes/no question could solve something as complex the relationship of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with the European Union – and a failure of Theresa May’s intransigent tactics. The nation needs open minds and cross-party co-operation, but Mrs May has proven unable even to reach a consensus with her closest ministers let alone reach across the House. So now we go cap in hand to the EU and ask: “Please sir, could we have some more time?” But out of the chaos, the Brexiteer MPs could seize control. Last night, was chastening for them: they are in a minority and they cherished bid for a pure, no-deal Brexit could have been put beyond them.

Mrs May’s deal, though, still exists. It may be a bad deal with profound potential implications but it is the only way to guarantee Brexit. If they were to hold their noses and vote for it in a third meaningful vote, they could enable Britain to escape the drama of re-runs of last night.