To say that the last year has been tumultuous is an understatement, writes Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans
I cannot predict with any accuracy what I will be writing in my article this time next year. As the Chinese say, we live in interesting times. Interesting, changeable and totally unpredictable.
Brexit has dominated politics over the past two years. As we end 2018 and go into 2019 it is impossible to guess what the next few months hold, never mind the next year.
I am one of the six officers of the Conservative 1922 Committee which looks after backbench MP interests, but it also oversees votes of confidence in the leader of the party.
One of my jobs was to ensure that, when the PM faced her vote of no confidence early in December, the party had the opportunity to listen to her and question her before making their decision as to how to cast their vote.
Earlier in the day I met with the PM as she voted on legislation in the Commons. As someone who has faced tough times in my life, I gave Theresa a hug and asked how she was feeling. She smiled and thanked me for my concern. Irrespective of which side of the vote you are on, you have to admire Theresa, as she was facing a vote which could have ended her career.
My job was also to ensure each MP had the opportunity to vote over the two hour period. I even had Theresa stand before me with her ID in order that I could cross her off my list. She smiled as she was handed her ballot paper.
The result is now part of political history. I was present in the room when the votes had been counted. I listened as the Chairman of the 1922 telephoned Theresa to inform her of the result, just minutes before it was declared to the world. These are moments of history, and on behalf of the Ribble Valley, I am privileged to have been given this front row seat and be part of these recent seismic events.
All of us will face challenges in 2019. There will be things over which we have total control, and there will be others where we have no control. There will be important decisions made and there will be moments of joy and of deep sadness. I lost my brother Barrie in 2018, and that sense of loss is huge.
So, whether it’s our PM or the wonderful volunteers I met at Clitheroe Tesco’s food collection, my Rotary friends collecting for great causes or nurses tending to our loved ones, the police safeguarding us or our teachers providing our youngsters with the tools to give them fulfilled lives, there are many people who will support us giving us strength and comfort when unexpected things throw us off course.
Don’t forget to do your bit and look out for others and do the odd random act of kindness to strangers and mates alike. It just makes all the difference to them when they need it most. Thank you for your friendship during 2018 and a happy and healthy 2019 to you and your loved ones.