But now we are told that nothing much has changed, a deal has not been struck and an EU summit planned for next month to sign off the final plan has been scrapped.
Instead Theresa May has apparently capitulated – once again – to EU demands to extend the so called ‘transition period’ after next March and pay yet more billions into EU coffers for the privilege.
So more than two years after 17.4 million voted to leave the EU in the biggest exercise in democracy this country has ever seen, our Government is apparently seriously considering prolonging the agony even further.
Good grief – haven’t we suffered enough?
The ostensible reason for the interminable delays is apparently insurmountable difficulties in solving the conundrum of the Irish border.
Sorry but I don’t buy it for a second. The amount of trade passing across the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland is, in international terms, tiny. It is far, far smaller, for example, than the amount of trade that moves between non-EU Norway and Sweden, or between non-EU Switzerland and France, Italy and Austria, and the borders between those countries work perfectly well.
With good will on both sides, this border problem could be solved in a trice – but the problem is the complete lack of good will on the EU’s side.
The Irish border is nothing more than a pimple on an elephant’s back. It has been blown up out of all proportion as a political ploy to complicate the UK’s departure from the EU.
Our “backstop” should be to simply leave the Irish border as it is and let the smugglers do their worst. The impact on the UK economy would be negligible.
What is Jean-Claude Juncker going to do about it? Send in the EU army’s crack troops to erect barbed wire fences and Checkpoint Charlie? I don’t think so somehow.
Mrs May’s mistake from the outset was to treat the EU as reasonable people who would be prepared to compromise to reach an agreement that would be beneficial to both sides.
Instead the EU side is more akin to East German border guards ready to open up the machine guns on any poor sod making a dash for freedom over the Berlin Wall.
The EU is an ideological project, not an economic one, and Brussels is prepared to destroy jobs and ruin livelihoods in order to keep the political dream of a United States of Europe alive. Just ask Greece or look at the youth unemployment figures in Spain and Italy for proof.
The fear in Brussels is not that Brexit will be a failure – but that it will be a runaway success.
What message would that send to the remaining inmates in the EU gulag? That you can have amicable trade relations with other countries without a vast, expensive and corrupt bureaucracy? That countries can run their own affairs without being told what to do by unaccountable and unelected bureaucrats?
That’s the last thing the EU wants! So it set out from the beginning – egged on incidentally by fanatical Remainers in the UK – to punish Britain in order pour encourager les autres and convince the remaining prisoners that a dash for freedom isn’t worth it.
I have many political differences with Mrs May, but admire her character. She has demonstrated astonishing levels of determination, resilience and courage over the last two years.
I hope she manages to get her deal but after experiencing the despicable actions of the EU side she should be under no illusion about the type of people she is dealing with.
The bullying, bad faith, arrogance and belittling behaviour of messieurs Juncker, Barnier, Tusk and Selmayr etc form the strongest possible argument of why we need to leave the EU as quickly as possible.
And while our Government is wasting time trying to negotiate with these impossible people, pressing domestic issues are being neglected. Transport anyone? Housing? Crime?
We need to throw off the EU yoke as soon as possible and turn our attention to more important matters.