Aylesbury MP David Lidington writes:

A General Election, a change of job, a vigorous argument locally about unitary councils, controversial local housing plans, plus a – how shall I put it – vigorous national debate over what leaving the EU should look like – all in all it’s been quite some year!

For me the General Election came unexpectedly. Pretty obviously I was disappointed by the national result though delighted to be re-elected in my Aylesbury seat with the biggest share of the vote that I’d had since 1992. 

I had loved being Leader of the House of Commons, but when the Prime Minister offered me the chance to serve as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice I didn’t need time to think.

The responsibilities are awesome: a brief like prisons and probation, while fascinating, is never going to be easy.

Taking responsibility for the courts carries with it some fundamental constitutional obligations. Like every Lord Chancellor, I had to swear an oath of office to uphold the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, first before the Queen, and later at the Royal Courts of Justice, in front of the Lord Chief Justice and other senior judges.

I also have various ceremonial duties. The outfitters were in my office to measure me up for my robes within three days of my appointment. I wear them for the most important legal ceremonies and the State Opening of Parliament, the most nerve-wracking moment of my year.

One slip or stumble when presenting Her Majesty with the speech and it would have been YouTube immortality!

I always love both Advent and Christmas. Advent is special not just because it has the best hymns in the book but because those four weeks of reflection and preparation help to get life into perspective, to count my blessings and look forward to the Christmas season.

This year I’ll think particularly of prison chaplains (of all faiths) and the incredible work that they do to give hope to prisoners that they can change their lives for the better.

A Happy Christmas to all BFP readers.