FOR people like me who campaigned to Remain in the EU, today is unlikely to be a cause for celebration as we mark one year to go till Brexit day.

However, my view has always been that, with the decision having been made, it is now up to us to face up to the undoubted challenges of Brexit while seeking to maximise the opportunities as they arise.

We are already some way to doing just that. Last week's agreement of a transition phase, lasting until the end of 2020, will give businesses certainty in the short term, allowing more time to deliver Brexit smoothly.

Progress has also been made on key issues such as the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and the so-called ‘divorce bill’. For its part, the EU has shifted its own stance on trade, meaning Britain can begin to negotiate trade deals after Brexit day next year, while we remain in the single market. This effort will be vital as we seek to protect and grow the UK economy as we leave the EU.

But, of course, there is still much to do. All sides are committed to avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland but we need to see further progress in achieving that over the coming 12 months. Meanwhile the UK Government and the devolved institutions are still to reach a deal on how powers are shared in the UK, when they return from Brussels. Nobody has left the European Union before; imagination and a spirit of compromise will be required if we are to work this out.

So the next 12 months, prior to Brexit, will continue to be full of challenges. But, much as that task will occupy us all, I hope too we begin to turn out sights to our future relationship with Europe too.

Binary referendums divide us into winners and losers. They cause hurt and open divisions. It takes a long time to heal. But the joint European response to Russia’s aggression in recent weeks has demonstrated that there is still far more that unites us than divides us on the continent of Europe. Our common bonds and kinship will continue long after we have left the office blocks of Brussels.

In 12 months' time, we will be leaving the European Union. But our sights, over the coming year, should be about how we maintain and build our relationship with European allies after that date. Leaving the EU - yes. Leaving the family of European nations - no.

Ruth Davidson is leader of the Scottish Conservatives