The Christmas season offers us valuable time to reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to the new year to come.

It has been an eventful year. At home, we were relieved not to be more seriously affected by the discovery of bird flu in Cellardyke, Fife. The smoking ban introduced in March has been praised by pub-goers and medical professionals alike. And many of us were sorry to see the last ever broadcast of Top of the Pops.

Internationally, escalating violence in the Middle East and the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, as well as those foiled in the UK, demonstrated the continuing need to fight extremism and prejudice at home and abroad. The human suffering in Sudan, Burma and elsewhere reminded us of our great humanitarian obligations to the world’s poorest people.

2007 will be a year of huge importance. It is vital that in the months ahead we see greater action on climate change – both internationally and in small but significant changes to our everyday lives.

It is also essential that we do all we can to promote integration and neighbourliness between races and religions at home. Putting our own house in order will greatly benefit our foreign policy and prospects for peace in the wider world.

Wishing my constituents a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Ye

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