Pudding run one of dates in festive calendar

Last week’s 17th North Shields Christmas Market kept its Dickensian links, as did Parliament in the run-up to December 25 with its Christmas tree and brass band carol concert in Westminster Hall.

In the spirit of that Dickensian theme, in Parliament the climate change agreement dominated matters, making Paris seem, after the recent terrorist atrocities there, a tale of two cities.

Then, Chancellor George Osborne returned to the Commons to explain why he has breached his welfare cap, blaming being forced to abandon plans to cut tax credits. Had they gone ahead, they would have made hard times even harder for many working families.

In the new year, all eyes will be on the EU negotiations, of which, it’s fair to say, the Eurosceptics have no great expectations and, should they go wrong, could leave Downing Street with a house to let.

In the meantime, MPs return home to their constituencies to say thank you to all those who work hard over the holidays to keep us safe, well and fed over the festive period.

In my case, I’m also back to start the Woodlawn School Pudding Run – this year is its 30th anniversary – on the Links at Tynemouth on Boxing Day morning.

Let me say thank you to all my constituents, not least for your enduring common sense and great sense of community, and wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.