POLITICALLY SPEAKING: Outwood MP Andrea Jenkyns looks back at the year behind us

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First of all, I would like to start by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.

It is one of my favourite times of the year and I like to spend this special day with my wonderful family. I also remember my late father Clifford, as I remind myself of his energy, kindness and true Christmas spirit.

Christmas is also a time of the year when some people find themselves at their loneliest and most challenged. I have a good friend who is a Samaritan and I would like to thank organisations such as these for all of the work they do in supporting people during difficult times, while many of us are tucking into our turkeys.

As I reflect on the year, I can’t help but think about all of the unbelievable things that have happened. There is no doubt that this has been an exciting year for me personally, as I have been blessed with having a baby who is due in the spring.

It has also been an exciting year politically. I don’t think anyone foresaw Brexit, a new government and, across the Atlantic, Donald Trump being the new President of the United States. If they had, a £5 bet would have won them millions.

I was overjoyed when I saw the referendum result come in on June 24. Britain had chosen a new future, one of optimism, ambition and sovereignty. People realised that leaving the EU gives our country limitless opportunities to forge new relationships across the globe. Through the Exiting the European Union committee, I have continued to analyse how we press forward with enacting the will of the British people.

The committee has recently discussed Britain’s negotiating objectives and options. I was encouraged when I heard that forging a new relationship with the EU doesn’t need to be a long process, and businesses can be given the certainty they need about their new opportunities quickly. We have been able to question a variety of witnesses, including representatives from the Confederation of British Industry, Leave Means Leave, the Trades Union Congress and others. The committee has a lot of hard work before it, but I am convinced we can keep holding the government to account and work towards a successful Brexit process.

Also in Westminster I was delighted to host a Patient’s Association dinner launching a new report into Anti-Microbial Resistance and Hospital Acquired Infections. The evidence for the report was gathered by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Patient Safety that I chair. I am delighted to see our work make a real difference. This year the APPG is focussing on malnutrition, a crucial topic.

In Wakefield it was a pleasure to be able to attend Craegmoor Care Homes’ Christmas ball at the Cedar Court Hotel. In August I was lucky enough to visit the homes, and it was amazing to see how brave and warm all of the residents are.

It was also a pleasure to be able to visit the Pinderfields Hospital Pupils Referral Unit on Imperial Avenue. The unit seeks to maintain the education of young, sick pupils who otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive an education.

If you would like to contact me, visit www.andreajenkyns.co.uk/contact-andrea.

Merry Christmas!