FROM THE HOUSE
THIS has undoubtedly been one of the strangest years of my nearly twenty two as an MP.
The shadow of Brexit has been present throughout, pushing most other issues off stage. The divisions it has created and the anxieties it is generating amongst constituents, irrespective of which side of the debate they favour, have filled my mailbag and dominated my work in Parliament and the constituency.
It has produced much anger and I am often worrying that many other issues of importance are being overlooked. We live in a difficult and challenging world where there is much suffering and need that demands our attention.
The significance of Christmas, as a religious festival, is that it offers us the opportunity to embrace and celebrate the hope of our redemption, despite our shortcomings, and it carries with it the message of a spiritual peace freely available to all of goodwill.
For all its disappearance under layers of commercialisation, it is a vision that has helped sustain us as a nation through many generations and it still lies at the heart of many of the standards we hope for, both from the state and government and from our neighbours and all with whom we work to try to achieve a common good.
So the troubles and differences that beset us here this Christmas make its message all the more important. We are fortunate that many will endeavour to strive both over Christmas and the coming year to put those principles into practise in their daily lives, even if we inevitably often fall short of our aspirations.
So this year in particular I would like to wish all my constituents without exception a joyous Christmas and a Happy New Year. I add with it the hope that the coming year will help bring us together in neighbourly friendship to meet those challenges with courtesy and good humour.