Hmmm, sorry about that but I have just noticed that the post I did on Thursday which I seem to recall I headed Recess Starts never saw the light of day. Not sure what happened but I clearly must have pressed the wrong button or at least not pressed the right one. I referred to the fact that on Wednesday as the Christmas recess had begun I had visited the dentist and visited my father over in Yorkshire.
It used to be the case that Parliamentary by-elections were relatively rare events caused only by the death or ill health of the sitting MP. It might be just be but just recently they seem to becoming more common.
The first thing that comes into my mind this year when I hear the word by-election is the tragic murder of our colleague Jo Cox. I cannot even begin to think how terrible this Christmas time must be for her husband, her children and wider family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.
Over in the Lake District the sitting Member of Parliament for Copeland has announced his intention to leave Parliament and take up a new job in the nuclear industry. The residents of this beautiful constituency are about to discover what it is like to become the centre of political attention. They may notice a significant increase in the amount of political literature arriving through their letterboxes! I paid my first visit over their yesterday in the teeth of what according to the Met Office was Storm Barbara. It will provide the first big test for the major political parties in 2017.
I had to attend a funeral yesterday as one of my wife’s cousins had passed away last week so Sue and I went over to Blackburn where the funeral was.
In the evening we attended the Civic Carol Concert held at Bury Parish Church in the presence of the Mayor and his Consort, the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive. There was also music from the Greater Manchester Police Band and the police provided collectors from the Cadets and two readers of the Lessons. A collection was taken in aid of the Mayor’s Charities and Police charities. With coffee and mince pies in the Parish Hall afterwards it was a very pleasant evening.
Following the public meeting on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework last week I am informed another public meeting will be held this time at the Elizabethan Suite on Friday 6th January starting at 7.30pm.
On the national scene the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced the date of his first budget. It will take place on Wednesday 8th March.
With the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara, Turkey and the lorry attack in Berlin Germany provided fresh reminders yesterday if any were needed of the uncertain and dangerous World in which we live. Unexpected events can unfold in an instant. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who Christmas period has been ruined by the events of yesterday.
In the Commons today the business starts with questions to the Department of Health. Then unless there is further urgent business the first debate is on the problems faced by those who homes are leasehold or commonhold. There is then a general debate on matters which backbench members wish to raise before the Christmas recess.
M.P.’s return to Westminster for the final time today in 2016. Business will start with questions to the Education Department. Then in accordance with the usual convention after attending a meeting of the European Council (which is attended by all the Heads of Government of the European Union member countries) the Prime Minister will report back to the Commons. Theresa May will make a statement and answer questions. There may then be other urgent business before the main debate which will be on the effect of leaving the European Union on the science sector.
With Christmas one week away I decided I would definitely go to watch ‘The Mighty Shakers’ yesterday play against Oxford United? Always the optimist I predicted a 2-1 win. Unfortunately although Bury were indeed winning 2-1 for a brief period in the first half they were pegged back to 2-2 at the interval and sadly conceded another goal to lose the game 3-2. With my home team Rotherham on a run of bad results as bad as Bury it is not a good year for me on the footy front but hope springs eternal and I am hopeful both Rotherham and Bury have better results in 2017!
As Christmas approaches I am attending a Nine Lessons and Carols service this afternoon and I have accepted an invitation to attend a special Christmas service at St John’s Free Church in Tottington after that.