ne Tory rebel has compared Boris Johnson to King Theoden from The Lord of the Rings – the ashen-faced leader kept under a spell by his evil advisor Grima Wormtongue (Dominic Cummings, of course). Can Johnson still assert himself on Brexit and get a trade deal? Does he even know whether he wants a deal? Diplomats in Brussels might get a clue about No 10’s true intentions today when trade talks resume today – the last realistic chance of a breakthrough to save us from Mordor-like darkness at the end of the year. Tory rebels, meanwhile, are hoping to rouse the spellbound king into a compromise deal on extra scrutiny powers for MPs.
Chief political commentator John Rentoul on what to look out for today: