As 2017 draws to a close, it is important to reflect on some of the victories we have shared over the last year across both Dagenham and Rainham - and also where more needs to be done.

In May we fought a snap General Election and I was honoured when the community returned me as your MP with an increased majority.

Since then, supported by over 5,000 residents, we have successfully saved Dagenham police station - a campaign I am particularly proud of.

And, after years of lobbying, it looks like we stand a good chance of saving King George Hospital Accident and Emergency.

But there are many other battles to be fought. Dagenham job centre remains under threat of closure, as does the police front counter in Rainham.

The power of a community standing together has seen off plans to bulldoze over Dovers Farm Green but Havering council’s refusal to support Village Green status is a disgrace.

The problem of violent crime - particularly moped-related gangs - is not going away, and I intend to keep the pressure on the police to make this a top priority.

Nationally, despite all the talk of halting austerity cuts, it just hasn’t happened; and these cruel Tory attacks on our local communities and public sector workers are driving people further towards poverty.

The horrendous way in which Universal Credit was being rolled out has been partially stopped but only after the Tories were dragged kicking and screaming towards the path of sanity. We must remain utterly vigilant to the way in which the new benefit can drive people towards debt and eviction.

Brexit has been a textbook example of how not to negotiate. This government could yet fall apart over Europe and Labour must stand ready to fight another election at any time in the New Year. Bring it on, that’s what I say.

Finally, I’d like to send a massive thank you to all the residents, volunteers, and the community as a whole for all the fantastic work they have done in 2017 - this year we showed on many occasions what people power can achieve.

I would like to wish all the residents across Dagenham, Rainham, South Hornchurch, and Elm Park a very merry Christmas and a happy, and healthy New Year. Emergency numbers for over the festive period are available HERE