AFTER over two years of Brexit debate, divide and in-fighting, the crucial vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal was postponed this week - and as I write this column, Theresa May’s leadership hangs in the balance.

Thankfully, we can look back on a year of getting stuff done in Furness despite the national mess. In February, after years of campaigning, I was proud to open the new maternity care unit at Furness General Hospital alongside Dr Bill Kirkup.

We also secured great success in October when other local campaigners, including the A595 Action Group, obtaining government investment into the A595 Dove Ford bottleneck.

In August, my Future Leaders’ Academy celebrated its fourth year. Youngsters from across the area enjoyed a three-week course to hone their leadership skills. In parliament, I have led the debate on tackling the scourge of county lines drug running that has been plaguing Barrow.

And we have kept up political support for the submarine programme on which our town depends and delivers for the country. Last month, I hosted a special reception to mark 50 years of our continuous at-sea deterrent.

But 2018 has also been tough for many. The government has pressed ahead with the roll out of universal credit just before Christmas despite pleas to hold off. It was good that we managed to negotiate better funded debt advice for claimants but it doesn’t change the fundamentals that for many on the breadline this will mean a cut in their income that they simply can’t manage.

Our trains are still too often dire and the government and rail company has yet fully to back down on axing much needed guards from services, meaning more strike misery for passengers.

And of course GSK is pushing ahead with plans to cut 190 jobs at its Ulverston plant. The taskforce I chair is overseeing a support package for those affected and we will continue to demand that GSK maintains their world-class apprenticeship programme for local young people.

Meanwhile, Toshiba’s decision to withdraw from the proposed Moorside power plant leaves the project in dire need of an investor. I will continue to work alongside Copeland MP Trudy Harrison.

Doubtless 2019 will bring many unexpected twists and turns. For now let me wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.