Happy New Year to you and yours! I hope you have all had a great time. I’m sure 2018 will bring fresh challenges and I wish everyone the best of luck for the 12 months ahead.
You might’ve vowed in 2018 to drink less, lose weight, do some exercise, see more of friends and family or change tact and embark on a new career.
And commiserations if your resolutions went out of the window in the opening days of January. It happens.
I’ll keep my resolution to continue moving heaven and earth for us across South Tyneside because every passing day under this incompetent, callous Tory Government means falling living standards, low wages, insecurity and the torture of the NHS.
After 2017 was so unpredictable, it would take a brave person to predict what 2018 will bring.
What I do know is we embark on the new year having enjoyed real success for the Labour Party, locally and nationally, in 2017.
It was an enormous honour to be re-elected as the Labour MP for the Jarrow Parliamentary constituency.
Labour’s majority jumping to 17,263 in a big 9.5% increase was people voting for the real change championed locally by me and an army of great people locally in a party led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Do the sums and our 65.1% share of all the votes cast means two-in-every-three politically engaged people in my part of South Tyneside and Gateshead believe in Labour.
We know that much hard work lies ahead but the giant strides we’ve made give us a strong base nationally as we head into 2018.
I believe every grafter deserves a decent week’s earnings for a decent week’s work, yet the Tories will empty wage packets when Universal Credit’s fully imposed across South Tyneside in May under benefit cuts hurting those in as well as out of work.
And starving our local authorities of funds is crippling our public services, costing 4,000 jobs alone in South Tyneside and Gateshead.
Charging full steam ahead with unfair changes to the State Pension age sees the Conservatives condemn 4,000 women in the Jarrow constituency, and many more all over the UK, to financial uncertainty.
I’m glad so many local women have come together and decided to add their voices to the WASPI campaign against this pension injustice.
We’ll also keep up the fight to save South Tyneside Hospital and do everything in our power to ensure it doesn’t die from a thousand Tory-inspired cuts and join the closed Jarrow Walk In Centre in an NHS graveyard.
And don’t get me started on Theresa May’s chaotic Tory Brexit when the Tories still don’t know what they want but are prepared to pay up to £39billion for whatever it is or isn’t.
I, as your Jarrow Labour MP representing much of South Tyneside and parts of the Gateshead Council area, promise you I’m well and truly up for the political fight.
Let me know your ideas and anything I can do to help you. Happy New Year!