It is great to be able to start 2021 by celebrating the approval of the AZ vaccine. This should speed up the roll out of the vaccination programme enormously. The other cause for celebration is the deal secured with the EU, we have avoided the horror of no deal.

Obviously there are concerns that the deal says so little on financial services, which account for 1 in every 14 jobs in the UK, that British citizens will only be able to spend 90 days in the EU without a visa and that there is little detail on the new GHIC card which will replace the EHIC. When Parliament returns I will be pressing Ministers on the detail, but for now I shall celebrate that there is a deal.

It is not all good news, and my inbox has been flooded with correspondence between Christmas and the New Year from worried students and their parents. There is much division as to whether schools should go back. I have this morning submitted my application to ask Gavin Williamson a question during his statement this afternoon, which if I get called will be about providing certainty, the not knowing what is happening is worse than taking a decision (which may be unpopular with some) and then sticking to it.

Due to deadlines I am writing this ahead of knowing what has happened in the votes in Parliament on Wednesday. So for clarity, by the time you read this, I will have voted for the deal, and against Parliament having an extended recess (if a division is called). Parliament can operate remotely, we have proved that, and it is only the intransigence of the Leader of the House that has meant it has not been doing so. Most of the Select Committee Chairs have been leading the charge to facilitate more remote participation, which Jacob was so opposed to in December but has had to concede defeat on. So if we can operate remotely then we should be doing so, to hold the executive to account and to voice the concerns of our constituents. I am certainly going to be doing that throughout 2021, even if even more of it is on zoom.

MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes