MERRY Christmas and a happy new year.

As your new MP, I am here to serve every single person in Stroud, the Valleys and Vale, whether you voted for me or not.

It is a great honour to have the opportunity to do so.

The festive season is certainly busy.

Stroud town centre was buzzing on Saturday during my street stall and I am grateful to so many people for taking time out to talk.

In the hussle and bustle of preparations, it can be easy to forget how lonely this time of year can be.

Checking in with people and asking questions may only take a couple of moments but it could make a huge difference.

I know many of you will spend time caring for family, friends, neighbours and strangers who are on their own or vulnerable.

At the weekend, I spoke to people about the foodbank and bumped into one of our star Street Pastors, readying herself for a long cold evening supporting night-time revellers.

Our community organisations, church groups and charities here are a stunning example of the best of the Five Valleys and I give praise to our public sector workers who continue their vital roles without a break.

I look forward to working with you all in the coming year.

Many people told me during the election that they were fed up with politics.

The arguing in parliament over the last three years and failure to move things forward has been negative for all of us but I am already working to improve the discourse locally and in Westminster.

Now, particularly at this time of year, is the time to put differences behind us and come together as a nation and as a community.

My post bag and inbox are extremely full.

During the coming weeks I will continue to engage with residents as well as setting up my constituency office so that I can respond and deal with your issues and concerns as effectively as possible.

I wish you and your family a peaceful and restful Christmas period.