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The Angela Merkel and Theresa May comedy double act

Theresa May and her Cabinet have not yet decided what our future trading relationship with the EU should look like. Credit: PA

At the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Angela Merkel naughtily poked fun at Theresa May, in a secret briefing for journalists.

Here's what transpired, according to those there.

Mrs Merkel said that when she asks Mrs May what she wants the shape of the UK's relationship with the EU to be, Mrs May says "make me an offer".

To which Mrs Merkel says, "but you're leaving - we don't have to make you an offer. Come on what do you want?

To which Mrs May replies "make me an offer".

And so, according to Mrs Merkel, the two find themselves trapped in a recurring loop of "what do you want?" and "make me an offer".

At its telling, the hacks laughed uproariously - though I am not sure this is so funny for the UK.

Mrs Merkel and Mrs May’s comedy skit reflects a deep and uncomfortable truth for the Government and country - which is that the Prime Minister and her Cabinet have not yet decided what our future trading relationship with the EU should look like, because (to state the bloomin’ obvious) ministers are at loggerheads over this.

But good news!

The negotiations that matter start in earnest this week: not between the UK and Brussels, or even the UK and Germany, but between the erstwhile Remainers Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd and Greg Clark on the one hand and the arch Brexiteers Michael Gove and Boris Johnson on the other.