It’s beginning to dawn on the UK government that Brexit doesn’t just mean Brexit – it means the destruction of close diplomatic ties with EU nations which could well become hostile states.

This stark realisation has prompted a push by MI5 intelligence officers to shore up security as the second phase of talks on the United Kingdom's future relationship with our nearest neighbours are set to begin.

Ministers and their apparatchiks in the civil service will be warned by those working in British intelligence that visiting the EU is now a risky business with potential for covert surveillance by the likes of the UK's former friends Germany and France as they seek an understandable advantage in negotiations.

There are few who do not see this as an unnecessary tragedy. The Machiavellian manipulations of a handful of right-wing Euro sceptics have turned our friends against us for no return.

And of course, all this comes as the UK is increasingly isolated thanks to a rogue president in the White House and attempts by Russia, China and North Korea to influence democratic elections worldwide.

The old post-war certainties are gone. There is a new world order and our place in it is yet to be determined.

But one thing is for sure, the dark days of espionage in western Europe have returned - and this time the intelligence services are focused on Brexit.