WELCOME to Global Britain. This is the country where, if you’re unfortunate enough to be arrested overseas through no fault of your own, you have no right to official assistance or protection. This applies even if you end up being tortured or held as diplomatic leverage. All this according to the Foreign Office.

Never mind the global pandemic, this puts paid to exotic holiday options in the future. And we thought all we had to worry about post-contagion were long queues at the airport, huge holiday insurance premiums, exorbitant mobile phone charges abroad and having to leave our pets at home. But never mind, our passports are now coloured blue!

Brexit is the Christmas gift that keeps on taking away. You can forget Mr Darcy coming to your rescue in Bridget Jones style if you’re holed up wrongly in a foreign jail. In Brexit Britain you’re on your own and far from all right Jack once you leave these shores.

The sheer stupidity and arrogance of Boris Johnson and his band of Brexiteers, playing fast and loose with real human lives so they can realise their isolationist wet dream is illustrated by this latest information from the Foreign Office.

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It dramatically highlights just how alone and abandoned we are now on the world stage, just how little being British counts for anything much in terms of protection and human rights, and how far we have sunk in influence.

There is one family, of course, that knows this situation very well and very tragically, a family amid many families whose loved ones are incarcerated abroad.

In fact, it was in a letter to lawyers for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who had asked the Foreign Office for an outline of their views of their obligations to her, that this staggering official denial of any and all responsibility was revealed.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a dual national, a British/Iranian mother, arrested in Iran back in 2016 and accused by the Iranian regime of sedition, charges compounded by Boris Johnson’s epic and unforgivable blunder as foreign secretary in front of a Select Committee in 2017 when he blurted out that she had been teaching journalists. This led to a second case being raised against her last October.

Her husband, Richard, was talking recently about this Christmas being the fifth that his family have been apart from each other, with their daughter, Gabriella, writing a letter to Johnson asking him when her mummy will come back. How cruel that it was this very PM whose incompetence made matters worse for this wee girl, torn apart from her mother in the most important years of her life.

Now Boris Johnson will have to answer to all British citizens as to why many of us who go abroad might face the same fate as the Zaghari-Ratcliffes, with the UK Government, ham-fisted and ineffectual, unable to exert any diplomatic muscle to combat unfair incarceration.

The National: Boris Johnson unveiled the UK’s narrow free trade deal with the European Union on Christmas Eve Picture: Paul Grover/PA Wire

According to an editorial in The Times this week, it was ever thus. In the case of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, her detention in Iran is nothing at all to do with any dissent, but rather is being used as a tool by the Iranian regime in order to get the British government to pay a historic £400 million arms deal debt, which even the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, once described as “un-British” and “double dealing” in the UK Government’s failure to pay up.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s initial term in prison is nearly up, but with these new emerging charges, Iranian officials could keep her in jail for longer if Johnson continues to dodge his responsibilities to this family.

Much of this lily-livered, cowardly and callous behaviour by Johnson and his gang is part of a wider pattern of neglect of protection of UK citizens abroad. Even the “Great Satan” of the United States has managed to get citizens back from Iran, why can’t Britain?

Brexit will make this already dire situation even worse – forget global aspiration, we’re now a mere dot on the horizon of world powers, with little ability to inspire trust or bring the weight of influence to bear on the protection for our citizens.

Brexit has revealed the big lie that lay hidden by an official elite, by a power base that always had their own, personal get-out-of-jail-free card, with no care for the little people.

It’s one rule for them and no rule of law for the rest of us. It’s all been a mirage, smoke and mirrors, with distractions of red buses and dead cats. It’s the ultimate Tory -style Brexit mantra of individualism and self-interest. Why are we surprised?

Nazanin turned 42 just days ago, stuck in Iran with little immediate hope of release, abandoned by a government too busy celebrating the realisation of their petty, small minded Brexit project.

Welcome to Global Britain.