MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

FIRST off happy new year to everyone.

I hope your festive period was as good as mine, regardless of whether or not you celebrate Christmas.

The winter break has been very welcome; giving me a chance to catch up with my family and friends who I miss greatly while in London.

It’s also been great to spend some time at home and chat to people about the year ahead.

Looking back on last year I have to say it was certainly one of the most enjoyable and exciting in my life and, despite the difficulties the economy caused, I feel the coalition has got off to a positive start, waving in a new era of co-operation in politics.

I was reminded of the seismic change the coalition brought to British politics when a repeat of the BBC’s Nick Robinson’s astoundingly good documentary on its formation was re-aired a few days ago.

The iconic images of David Cameron entering Downing Street as Prime Minister alongside Nick Clegg was an astounding moment which few of us could ever have imagined.

That is the reality though now and I really hope that same spirit of co-operation for the good of the country will continue this year.

Recent revelations have, of course, revealed that there remain huge differences in the parties with Liberal Democrat ministers being caught out expressing opinions about some aspects of Government policy.

But I don’t think that comes as any great surprise and I think the way this matter has been dealt with by the Prime Minister – accepting there are fundamental differences and endeavouring to keep the spirit of co-operation working – has been outstanding.

Looking to the coming year I feel that there are some very important things coming up in Parliament which will directly affect Fylde.

Planning, although a matter for the council rather than an MP, will be reformed by the Decentralisation and Localism Bill with an end to Whitehall interference.

And job creation will be among the top priorities, I am sure, as the Government looks for ways to stimulate private sector growth.

There’s a huge task ahead but with the festivities out of the way it’s back to the grindstone and I sincerely hope 2011 will be a brighter year.

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