Winners of the festive awards

As we reflect on the political comings and goings of 2013, I wonder who would be deserving winners in a festive prize giving.

The Christmas Star Award is easy. In a mark of respect unique for an overseas head of state, the House of Commons dedicated a day for tributes to the late, great Nelson Mandela.

I never met Mr Mandela personally but came within touching distance. He passed my simple test for a great figure – as he passed by every face in the crowd smiled. Although he may have smiled himself at the description, he was a star in every sense.

The Three Wise Men Award might have gone to the prime minister, deputy prime minister and chancellor if, when looking east, they had been more emphatic about the economic benefits of staying in the EU as well as looking towards China. The truth is our future depends on both.

The Christmas Turkey Award surely goes to IPSA – the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, who seem to think now would be a good time to give MPs a big pay rise.

Even if IPSA believe there’s a case to be made, the fact that they announce it at a time of a cost of living crisis for families shows how out of touch they are.

And the final award is a special award for efforts beyond the call of duty. Contenders include the nurses, police officers, firefighters and council workers who keep us safe throughout the year and who themselves feel under threat and undervalued.

But this year it goes to the mothers and fathers across my constituency and beyond who are working hard, when times are hard, to make sure their children have a Christmas to remember.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.