I never forget that those who I represent in Parliament are real people, by which I mean, each life faces a challenge. Constituents may have family, or they may be on their own, but whatever their circumstances are I have always seen it as my duty to provide whatever support I am able to through the various bodies and organisations who have responsibility for the matters which constituents bring to my attention.
I wish I could solve everyone’s problem but I am not able to do so. Often matters are extremely complex and as an elected representative I cannot guarantee that those who I approach will always be compliant in my requests, but I most certainly hold them to account.
So, everyone will have their own personal story of what the last year has been like for them. It is not in my gift to give good health to everyone but that is certainly what I wish. It is not in my gift to make everyone happy, even though Leigh-on-Sea has been described as the happiest town in which to live.
Nationally, I am only too well aware of the challenges we face with health, education, transport and the environment, just to mention a few issues. I am actively addressing people’s concerns about crime generally in our town and I hope to be welcoming the Home Secretary to Southend next year.
But of course, the dreaded Brexit word is in the hearts and minds of us all. I intend to speak in the debate which will be held in Parliament when we return in early January. In that debate I will be setting out my own views on the way the withdrawal negotiations have been handled and how I see the future.
I love the country in which I live and for me that country is the United Kingdom, I emphasise the word United. This for me is the benchmark in terms of the way we leave the European Union. When we have left on 29th March at 11pm next year, I do hope that the country will come together again and ensure that the aspiration for us to be an outward-looking country, trading our goods and services throughout the world with increasing prosperity, is actually delivered.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the army of volunteers who work in every aspect of our lives in Southend for all that they do on our behalf and I would particularly like to thank our Emergency Services.
I wish you all not only a very happy Christmas but a prosperous and healthy New Year.