With the second round of Brexit negotiations wrapping up last week, and with four months having passed since the triggering of Article 50, it is right to look at how the Brexit talks are going before everyone in London and Brussels heads off on their summer holiday.

Unfortunately, the answer is that little progress has been made, and that the mood music is not encouraging for anyone who wants a Brexit deal that will protect people and protect jobs. The EU has made clear that three important issues must be finalised before talks can proceed to covering the future UK-EU relationship.

These are the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and UK citizens living in the EU; the so-called 'divorce bill', where the UK will contribute towards EU programmes we have already committed to funding; and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

With less than two years to go before the Article 50 period is due to end, little progress has been made on any of these issues.

The most important, and the most truly concerning, is the rights of EU citizens living in Britain.

There are three million of them – our neighbours, colleagues, friends, sometimes partners and spouses. It is simply wrong that a question mark has hung over their status for the last 13 months. Despite Liam Fox's callous words about EU nationals being used as "cards" in a game, the vast majority of people were looking forward to them receiving guarantees about their future as soon as the negotiations began. Instead, four months on, nothing has been agreed.

This is the fault, largely, of the UK government. It took them much longer than the European Commission to produce a position paper setting out their policy on EU citizens. And when that paper did emerge, it was significantly less generous than the Commission alternative, for example on family reunion and the cut-off date.

It is true that compromise needs to take place on both sides. But the British government's lack of urgency when dealing with the livelihoods of three million people has been shocking.

March 2019 might feel a long time away. But the final deal will need to be agreed in October 2018, to give time for the European member states and UK parliament to debate and ratify the agreement. And both Whitehall and Brussels are aiming to get the three initial negotiating subjects completed by October this year, so talks on trade can take place as soon as possible.

After four months, the current rate of progress on EU citizens is not nearly good enough. On the divorce bill and the Irish border, nothing appears to have been achieved whatsoever.

This is all indicative of the wider failings in the UK Government's approach.

If they cannot make any progress on something as comparatively simple as EU citizens' rights, how can they negotiate a comprehensive free trade and customs deal with the EU (as they have promised) in a year?

Not to mention the issues of continued UK participation in Europol, the Schengen Information System, Eramsus, Horizon 2020, Open Skies, and many other beneficial EU programmes.

What is clear is that we need to up our game rapidly as the negotiations go forward. Perhaps an August break will give Government Ministers weary from general election campaigning the opportunity to recharge their batteries, returning to talks reinvigorated, but I am not holding my breath. The clock is ticking, and we could soon be facing the very real prospect of a Brexit with no deal, where negotiations are timed out.

That would be the worst possible outcome for Britain, putting our trade, our rights and our security at risk. Staying in the Single Market and the Customs Union, at least for a transitional period, is the only way of avoiding such a destructive cliff edge.

Heidi Alexander is a Labour MP and supporter of the Open Britain campaign.