I’m sure many like me never fail to be amused that so much build up leads to one day that always seems to be over in such a flash! Of course, Christmas is much more than one day and I hope that every reader has enjoyed extended time with their loved ones, as well as the chance to put their feet up.

After a politically significant year in 2016, I think we were all hoping for a rather more straightforward 2017. In April, that certainly went out of the window as the Prime Minister announced a snap General Election.

It is safe to say that nationally the election did not go to plan and I am sure there aren’t many more people that are looking forward to seeing the back of 2017 as much as Theresa May.

However, despite a combination of a misjudged election manifesto and some darned bad luck (giving a speech with a bad cold), the PM has shown resilience and a strength of character which even our opposition colleagues have admired.

Despite much of the media storm and the portrayed stand-off and soundbites from each side (which is typical of any negotiation, never mind such a high profile one as this) I have complete faith in Theresa May to deliver the best Brexit deal possible.

She may not be a polished media performer or a natural when it comes to PR as previous leaders including David Cameron and Tony Blair. But behind closed doors she is formidable at the negotiating table and has an unwavering focus.

There is no doubt that her 2018 will be absolutely dedicated to ensuring that this country encounters a positive stage of its history.

Whilst nationally it didn’t go to plan, in North Swindon I was honoured to be re-elected with an increased share of the vote, managing the largest number of votes of any candidate in the history of Swindon.

I am so proud and grateful to fellow local residents for bestowing this privilege on me again in 2017. I can promise that my 2018 will continue to be dedicated to serving those residents, both in Parliament and locally, where the fantastic team in my office help me to provide assistance to hundreds of people each week.

Finally, I was really disappointed to see the abuse and targeting of Labour MP Stella Creasy this week, simply for socialising with Therese Coffey, a fellow Conservative MP. Stella and I worked together on my financial education campaign and it was this cross-party support that helped secure FE into the curriculum.

I have a brother that votes Labour and a brother that voted for the SNP. Yet we all manage to sit round the table at this time of year and appreciate the fact that we may disagree on certain things but still enjoy each other’s company. There is an increasingly toxic environment in politics at the moment, where the likes of Laura Pidcock MP (who said she would never socialise with Conservatives) and those targeting Stella, look to divide and disrespect other people’s views.

We cannot allow them to succeed in dividing our society. People have died and sacrificed everything in order to allow us to live in a democracy where everybody has an equal right to their own opinion.

The very least we can do is respect those who disagree with us and treat them with the respect and kindness that everybody deserves.