Parliament has been told that it can’t adjourn for its half term recess next week because of Brexit, even though there seems to be little sign of progress on the EU withdrawal process.

But while MPs dither, the consequences of Brexit for the wider business of government are beginning to emerge.

Alex Chisholm, the top civil servant at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, revealed last week that his officials are having to soft pedal on some initiatives. These include policy work on the contribution that hydrogen can make to low-carbon heat, which is three to six months behind schedule.

The smart meter rollout, however, which has a more pressing deadline, has not been affected by any diversion of resources to Brexit-related activities, he said.

Mike Helmsley, senior power analyst at the Committee on Climate Change, was sanguine about the delay on the department’s work when he was quizzed about the delay at a Westminster Forum conference.

He gave the department the benefit of the doubt, stressing that it is hard at work on its hydrogen strategy. Nevertheless it must be a worry that this work on potentially the thorniest topic in UK energy policy is behind schedule. And it adds to a sense that, across government, issues are being sidelined.

The Brexit fallout will continue to preoccupy Whitehall, depending on how messy the UK’s exit from the EU turns out to be, after 29 March. Sooner rather than later though, the government needs to restore its grip on the home front.