SINCE 2016 the PM has always insisted that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, and the latest info from Westminster is that considerable progress has been made and that trade talks will commence shortly.

We have not been informed of the detailed agreements made to achieve this position, but given the recalcitrance exhibited by the EU team to date it is fair to assume that concessions have been made by David Davis et al which might not be to our liking, and we are left to interpret what the future will be based on recent pronouncements.

It seems that we will on April 1 2019 be outside the EU, and that a rationalising period of two years thereafter will elapse before we are totally “free”. During the next three years, therefore, we will be subject to all obligations of a member of the EU but with no representation in the “corridors of power”. All of those onerous obligations to which we have been subject and which in part determined the “out” vote in 2016 will have by the end of the divorce negotiations been extant for five years.

Presumably the foregoing is being accepted by Westminster as a “good deal”. We are left to determine ourselves what the “quid pro quo” for agreeing to such arrangements by the UK team might be. The attitude of the EU so far and the absence of any hint of empathy or sympathy by Messrs Barnier , Juncker, and Tusk engenders little confidence that a “good deal” will have been obtained.

In the recent past the judgment shown by Theresa May and several of her ministers has been justifiably criticised. The oft-repeated assertions that all is well are daily being exposed as rhetoric designed to rescue the government from policy failures. Will the Brexit deal be yet another?

John Hamilton