Government claims about the effect of a no vote in parliament are built on sand.
In the Brexit negotiations, process — or, rather, rival interpretations of process — is everything. So far, Conservative Brexiters can claim victory in all the key procedural battles, at least as far as public and media perception is concerned.
Immediately after the referendum, they asserted that there was no chance of reopening the rules around freedom of movement, even though decision makers in Brussels were ready to do so. Then they successfully claimed that Article 50 had to be triggered quickly, even though the UK government was unprepared for the subsequent talks. Finally, having capitulated to every demand from the EU27, they succeeded in persuading the pro-Brexit tabloid press to hail their humiliation in the first phase of the talks as a triumph.