THE first picture of a black hole was released yesterday afternoon just as Theresa May was stepping into the latest EU summit.

She must have felt she were stepping into a black hole. A black hole is defined as “a region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape”, whereas the EU is a part of the world from which it is impossible for the UK to extricate itself.

Nothing can survive being sucked into a black hole – any matter, however strong, is spaghettifised by being stretched by incredible forces into long thin strips until it just disappears. This is exactly what it feels like to be living through these Brexit years.

The black hole is 53 million light years away – 500 million trillion kilometres, which is an awful lot of miles – and yet it is closer than we are to leaving the EU.

It is amazing that scientists can know so much about something so far away when, as the ring-of-fire summit began, we had not a clue about how our economy would be functioning in just 48 hours time.

Scientists have amassed their knowledge through eight telescopes, and yet we have had thousands of civil servants, hundreds of MPs, scores of Cabinet minister and a handful of crack negotiators working on Brexit for three years without finding even one way out.

But that is because Brexit is just like a black hole. An eminent scientist said: “Although they are relatively simple objects, black holes raise some of the most complex questions about the nature of space and time, and ultimately of our existence.”

The leave result was very simple, but it raised such complex questions about the nature of our relationship with our closest neighbours that it is taking years to understand. Such is the agony that most people wish that the interminable rows and uncertainty would just disappear – as if they had been sucked into a black hole.