It is a real pleasure to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the best possible New Year.

Whether you’re cosying up to loved ones with a few chocolates and mince pies, fretting about cooking the turkey, or like me, looking forward to reading those novels that have sat neglected on your bedside table, I hope you will have a few happy days, unwinding with family and friends.

It’s been a busy few months in Parliament.  As I write, there is much more uncertainty surrounding us than ever before.  Brexit is not concluded; nor anywhere near it.  The Prime Minister has no majority in Parliament, neither for her deal, nor for her leadership.  She may be in office, but she is powerless.  Her rudderless Government drifts aimlessly in a dire political and economic storm it has created.

Nothing is being done to ease the problems caused by this Government’s failed economic policies.

NHS staff, firefighters and police officers, who keep Newham safe, will work around the clock again this season.  Their budgets get tighter, yet their workloads continually increase.  Despite their hard work and dedication, it’s unlikely they’ll get a holiday break.

We owe all of them our gratitude and support.  Most importantly, they deserve the tools to do their jobs properly and a decent living for the work they do for us all.  Those aren’t Christmas gifts this Government will give.

I am also very grateful to, and thankful for, everyone volunteering over Christmas in food banks, charities and homeless shelters.  This Government doesn’t seem to care.  Thank goodness ordinary, good neighbours step in to help.

Their kind acts turn potentially difficult times into something joyful and truly special.

It’s been a long, hard year for so many.  While others enjoy the festive cheer, I know some readers dread what next year will do to them and their families.

It reminds me there is so much more to fight for, so everyone can live a better, fuller and happier life.

Merry Christmas to you and yours and the very best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

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