Stephen Hepburn MP: Picture clerar on Conservative plan to charge over-75s for TV licence

An elderly person watching TV.
An elderly person watching TV.

Here’s a Christmas teaser for you: since when was December 25 the big day?

The answer is for a very long time, and if you want to delve deep into the back of the mind, I’d pause reading now for a moment while you think of the answer before continuing because it’s in the next paragraph.

The birth of Jesus Christ wasn’t celebrated in the first three centuries of the religion and the Epiphany on January 6, commemorating the arrival of the three Wise Men, was the significant date this time of the year.

December 25 is first mentioned in 336AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Constantine, and though how it’s marked has changed over the decades, it’s fair to say the day’s never lost its significance and Christmas is all about families.

So Merry Christmas from me and I hope you and yours enjoy a great day, however you choose to celebrate on Tuesday.

But let’s thank all those working, whether in hospitals and power stations, police stations or taxi firms, pubs and restaurants and hotels and shops or caring for the frail and vulnerable, when their graft enables the rest of us to enjoy ourselves.

The festive season’s also a moment to reflect on the year ending and the next one starting.

I’ve been shocked at Theresa May’s incompetence, a Grinch of a Prime Minister incapable of running a bath never mind the country.

The mess these shambolic Tories are making of the economy, public services and Brexit is breathtaking.

This Government is shamefully the first in history to be found in contempt of Parliament when the Prime Minister dodged a crucial vote on our important relationship with our European neighbours because she knew she’d lose.

More than one third of Tory MPs, 117, declaring no confidence in a sitting PM, was also pretty momentous, and with frit May trying to block Jeremy Corbyn’s no confidence motion in her, I’m looking forward to Jeremy tabling one in the Government early next year.

Here on Tyneside we deserve change, real change, in 2019 to let the country elect a Labour Government to raise wages, save the NHS, improve schools, care for the disabled, build homes, make our streets safer and treat the elderly with respect.

Sneaky Tories plotting to steal free TV licences from our over-75s, blaming the BBC when the guilty men and women are Tory Ministers, is a battle I’m up for in the 12 months ahead.

I’m proud the Labour Government gave the most senior of citizens free licences and I’ll fight a Tory Government planning to charge them £150.50 every step of the way.

Politics is about whose side you are on and what type of country we wish to live in.

Labour stands for prosperity for all instead of just a few, fairness, decency, tolerance, first class public services and redistributing power.

The Tories want to take away free TV licences from over-75s. The picture couldn’t be clearer.