Despite the incessant mud-slinging going on between the networks, Backchat was heartened to discover that the Christmas spirit has, for the moment at least, prevailed.

Apart from the commission-wrapped presents winging their way to Broker Network members, chief executive Grant Ellis – evidently shocked to hear of Willis UK boss Brendan McManus’ intention to make like the Grinch and steal them – has suggested that the two put their money where their proverbial mouths are.

“I’m willing to wager with Brendan,” he declared. “If he takes more members of mine than I take of his, I’ll buy him dinner.”

By all accounts, it should be one hell of a feast.

Indeed, with reports suggesting that Ellis will pocket somewhere in the region of £15m following the impending acquisition by Towergate, Backchat wonders if he might consider extending the offer to Willis’ 13,000 employees worldwide.

Either that, or perhaps a small donation, instead, to help put Willis’ -launched family cookbook to proper use.