I hope that all readers had a very merry Christmas.
As we move towards the New Year, I have been taking some time to think about the past 12 months.
As with every year that I have been an MP, many of the highlights come from special interactions with local people.
These are often difficult, initially, as many people come to see me with particular problems.
The best part of my job is solving as many of these problems as possible.
At other points during the year I have met people for different reasons, such as local people raising money for charity or a school holding an event for veterans of the armed forces.
This is all part of the warm community that we live in and I look forward to many similar meetings during the year ahead.
Other key moments of this year have not really been ‘political’ in the sense that most people use that word for MPs.
I was very pleased, for example, to run the annual Bassetlaw Summer School, bringing young people from Bassetlaw to gain contacts and learn about the worlds of law, business and politics.
I have also ensured that young people get to go to sporting events for free, such as cricket or Premier League football.
A personal achievement was climbing Kilimanjaro, to raise funds for schemes to help local ex-forces personnel deal with housing, welfare and other issues.
They have already done brilliant work locally and I will continue to support them over the coming year.
There were of course two major political events that shook the Westminster club this year.
Firstly, Brexit shocked those in London who failed to listen to those outside of their own bubble.
Secondly, I do have my concerns about the election of Donald Trump, mainly for the perspective of security and his supposed cosiness with Putin.
But in truth, my focus will remain on the issues that really matter to our local area.
I’ll be campaigning to keep the children’s ward open at Bassetlaw hospital, for more suitable housing and better facilities for local people.
That is not to say that there are not big national and international issues coming up over the next year.
As I have always done, I will work across the political parties to get the best deal for our area.
I would also like to thank everyone over the past year who has made their views known to me.
It is an enormous help to receive emails, calls and letters from local people telling me what they think my priorities should be, or asking for help on a particular issue.
I also carry out regular surveys to gauge local opinion. I am very grateful to everyone who completes these.
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