Did Theresa May give MPs a taster of her resignation speech?
The PM was keen to stress that she did not bang the table or play to the gallery.
In June 2016, Theresa May announced her bid to become prime minister by stressing various things that she did not do. "I don’t gossip about people over lunch. I don’t go drinking in parliament’s bars. I don’t often wear my heart on my sleeve," she said.
Now 18 months later, did she deploy a similar tactic for the first draft of her own political obituary?
As the prime minister opened the five-day debate on her Brexit deal, some opponents reckoned she was giving them a taster of her resignation speech. Just before suffering an extraordinary three parliamentary defeats in a single day, she told the Commons:
"I have spent nearly two years negotiating this deal. I have lost valued colleagues along the way. And faced fierce criticism from all sides.
"If I had banged the table, walked out of the room and at the end of the process delivered the very same deal that is before us today, some might say I had done a better job.
"But I didn’t play to the gallery, I focused on getting a deal that honours the referendum and sets us on course for a bright future – and I did so through painstaking hard work."
One seasoned Westminster operator was confident that the speeech sounded suspiciously like the start of the end for the prime minister….