THE Brexit negotiations are stuck in the mud – the wheels are spinning around frantically but absolutely no progress is being made.

Despite what some are saying – including, surprisingly, Angela Merkel – there is no perceptible move forward. And unless some drastic action is taken, by the United Kingdom, the whole process will remain at a standstill until Kingdom Come.

Smiling at and being amiable towards the hard-headed Brussels team is all very commendable but, frankly, it’s not working.

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The grim Euro grandees may smile back, but they do so through gritted teeth – teeth which, as one Victorian politician said of Sir Robert Peel, resemble coffin nails.

Through these rictus smiles they are still demanding, like usurers of old, outrageous sums of money from the UK as the price for leaving – and refuse to be budged. A completely different approach is urgently needed by the UK. David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is a good politician, but he lacks the killer instinct which appears to be the only way to do business with these people.

Remember Margaret Thatcher, brandishing her handbag and indulging in what was called foghorn diplomacy, scaring the living daylights out of these Eurocrats – and usually getting her way?

Davis – without any shame attached to him – should be moved sideways and replaced by someone more ruthless. I suggest John Redwood, a former Cabinet Minister who challenged John Major for the Tory leadership in the 1990s.

He has publicly stated we owe not a penny to the EU. He is as obdurate and tough as they come – and the Eurocrats would suddenly find to their alarm they would be confronted by a whole new and possibly intractable problem.