Last week’s 17th North Shields Christmas Market kept its Dickensian links as did Parliament in the run up to Christmas with its Christmas tree and brass band carol concert in Westminster Hall.

So in the spirit of that Dickensian theme, in Parliament the Climate Change Agreement dominated matters, making Paris seem, after the recent terrorist atrocities, a tale of two cities. Then the Chancellor returned to the Commons to explain why he breached his welfare cap, blaming his being forced to abandon plans to cut tax credits.  Had they gone ahead they would have made hard times even harder for many working families. In the New Year all eyes will be on the EU negotiations of which it’s fair to say the eurosceptics have no great expectations and should they go wrong could leave Downing Street with a house to let.

In the meantime MP’s return home to their constituencies to be able to say thank you to all those who work hard over the holidays to keep us safe, well and fed over the festive period. Also in my case to start the Pudding Run -; this year is the 30th anniversary -; on the Links on Boxing Day morning in aid of Woodlawn School. Let me say thank you to all my constituents, not least for their enduring common sense and great sense of community and to wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.

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