If the resignation of Anna Soubry, Sarah Wollaston and Heidi Allen means the Tories are becoming a narrower and less tolerant party, it is a disaster. The Conservatives cannot afford to decline into a sect which drives out all those who are unable to subscribe to whatever its stern, unbending ideology happens to be at any particular moment. It must remain a broad church within which a continuous and never finally settled argument about doctrine can take place. Only then is it able convincingly to offer its services to the nation as a party of government.
Theresa May looks so weak because she has been attempting to hold her party together. She is not herself of a sectarian disposition: an accusation which can more justly be levelled at Jeremy Corbyn. She is a pragmatist, who hopes she can persuade the vast majority of her backbenchers to support a pragmatic Brexit deal, even though it does not conform in every particular to the different and mutually incompatible things they would like in an ideal world to see.