As I write this year’s New Year Message, there are just under 100 days before we leave the European Union, and, based on events over recent days, there is no telling what might happen over the coming hours, let alone days or weeks in terms of Brexit, the UK Government or decisions which might or might not be taken by Parliament or the people.

Like others, farmers are becoming tired of hearing about Brexit, while also becoming increasingly worried and frustrated as we watch the clock tick down towards March 29, and possible scenarios that would be disastrous not only for farming, but our economy as a whole.

As the FUW has said repeatedly, no responsible UK Government would allow us to leave the European Union without a deal, and it was no surprise therefore that FUW county and committee chairmen unanimously supported a proposed amendment to the UK Government’s motion in support of their EU withdrawal package which would effectively prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Within days of our decision to support that amendment, which was tabled by former DEFRA minister Hilary Benn, I was in the House of Commons listening first hand to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the long anticipated ‘meaningful vote’ on the withdrawal deal was to be postponed until late January.

Watching this, and the political shenanigans, manoeuvrings and implosions that have followed, has increased my concerns that the worst case scenario of a no-deal Brexit could happen almost by accident, despite all but the most reckless MPs recognising the disaster that would follow - not least for those who will be lambing over the coming weeks and months whose prices will be slashed if we lose access to the EU market after March.

The Brexit referendum has turned pre-existing divisions into gaping wounds that threaten to permanently split not only political parties but the entire nation, and while increasing numbers support the notion that a second referendum is the only way to solve the political gridlock, the degree to which this could add to divisions has to be recognised.

Despite such deeply disturbing prospects, over recent weeks I have been heartened after meeting politicians from across the political spectrum who, despite political differences, are working together to seek solutions and common ground in order to minimise the dangers we now face. Indeed, it was the cross-party support received by Hilary Benn’s proposed amendment already referred to that galvanised FUW support for his proposal.

I wouldn’t describe such cooperation as a Star of Bethlehem quite yet, but it is certainly a glimmer of hope, and by the time this article is published perhaps the good will of the Christmas Season and some sensible New Year’s resolutions will mean we are starting to move away from the cliff edge.