Although the wars in Ukraine and Gaza cast a shadow over the festive season, I’d like to wish all readers a Happy New Year and the very best for 2024, in what will be my last year as an MP.

We don’t know the date of the General Election but the UK Government will undoubtedly spend the coming months trying to push through their controversial legislation, including the Rwanda Bill, to appease the right of the Tory Party.

However, they are moving from the absurd to the ridiculous by refusing to accept the Supreme Court ruling that sending asylum seekers to Rwanda would be unlawful because it is not a safe country, and instead using emergency legislation to simply declare that Rwanda is safe!

Would legislation make Ukraine or Gaza safe?

Indeed, Rishi Sunak kicked off the New Year with his immigration obsession by celebrating restrictions on international students and claiming that ‘stopping the boats’ is the number one issue for voters.

Perhaps if he got out more, he would realise that the biggest issue for most people is the cost-of-living crisis. If he abandoned his shambolic Rwanda plan, which has already cost the public purse £290million, he could offer some support to those who are struggling.

For years now, the Tories have governed the UK in the interests of trying to hold their fractious Party together rather than in the best interests of the people, with Brexit being the prime example.

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was the perfect opportunity to provide more support to households through the winter, in advance of energy bills rising by a further five per cent this month, but our calls for a return of the £400 energy support payment fell on deaf ears.

Yet again, we find ourselves in the absurd situation that Scottish households are facing soaring energy bills despite living in an energy-rich country - we must end Westminster’s mismanagement of our extensive energy resources.

In contrast, the Scottish Government has chosen to support households by freezing the Council Tax for the next financial year, funding directly the monies that local authorities would have raised through the tax. They are also increasing the Scottish Child payment in line with inflation to £26.70 a week, further supporting the 323,000 under 16s who receive it.

Of course, much of the talk following the Scottish budget is about the creation of a new higher tax band for those earning over £75,000 per year.

While the knee-jerk reaction of opposition politicians is to say that higher earners will simply move south to avoid paying more, the evidence points to the contrary with figures from National Records Scotland showing more people are moving to Scotland from the rest of the UK than are leaving.

Yes, Scotland may be the highest taxed part of the UK for higher earners, but we are also the lowest taxed part of the UK for lower earners.

Scotland’s social policies are also more progressive than in the rest of the UK, which makes living here more attractive for most people, not less.

Indeed, when I speak to constituents, the majority appreciate the Scottish Government’s provision of prescriptions, personal care, university tuition, expanded early years care and school meals for primary pupils, and bus travel for the young and old - all of which are free at the point of use.

And for those of us who are fortunate enough to be well paid, most are happy to pay a little more tax to support these policies and protect our public services.

That is how we build a fairer, healthier and more prosperous society.