Which side will blink first?

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The embattled Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has become the latest whipping boy in the seemingly interminable saga of Brexit.

He has been branded by Labour as the worst Transport Secretary in Britain’s history, alongside inevitable demands that he be sacked forthwith.

His problems date from the moment he appointed a company, with no experience in this field and - worse still - the owner of no ships, to run a ferry service from Ramsgate in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Needless to say, Grayling was mercilessly ridiculed for this. Now, that plan has been dropped amid cries of “I told you so” from his critics. But all that was merely just another twist in the Gordian knot of the negotiations as a whole.

So what happens next, as the sorry story of Brexit grinds on? Which side will blink first? Britain is hoping that, at last, the stubborn, greedy Brussels negotiators accept or promote a concession that will be acceptable to Parliament. Or is that just a pipe dream? Brexit has not thrown up much goodwill over the past few months and it is probably too much to expect it now.

But we have to live in even the slimmest of hope that goodwill might at last prevail. It is a long shot, however.

- Tory Sir Christopher Chope stands at the moment as the most reviled and vilified MP at Westminster. This is because in the Commons last week, he shouted “object” when a Bill designed to deal with the ghastly practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) was called. If he had not intervened, the Bill would probably have gone through on the nod - but now it will probably be delayed for a long time before, if ever, it sees the light of day again.

This attracted a ferocious barrage of protests, not only from his political opponents but from members on his own side as well, including Cabinet Ministers. But at the risk of being verbally lynched myself, I would dare to say that Chope is a principled and honourable Member. No Bill, however important, should be allowed to leave the Commons without being carefully considered by MPs. Otherwise, it is in danger of going forward full of loopholes which would trump the true purpose of the measure.