Hope that Theresa May would be able to escape the misery of leading Brexit negotiations were dashed today when the EU voted unanimously to continue discussions until the day after Mrs May leaves office, whenever that proves to be.

“This was a very popular move,” said Angela Merkel. “She has been irritating the hell out of us for so long and finally we came up with a way to get our own back.”

No particular leader was prepared to take the credit for this wheeze, but a number of sources unofficially fingered the Estonian foreign minister who, they noted, was enjoying the run of the bar without having to put his hand in his pocket.

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