Conservative Party co-Chairman today wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Speaking from Oldham East and Saddleworth this morning, she said:
'This Christmas, I'll be out on the campaign trail with our fantastic local candidate, Kashif Ali. But of course, Christmas is also the season to enjoy with friends and families, and a good moment to take a well earned break after a busy year. What's more, I also believe that Christmas is a great time to recognise the contribution that Christianity makes to our country.
'Earlier this year, I spoke out about the positive role that faith plays in Britain - and our Christian heritage is absolutely central to that. The message of peace carried in the Christmas story has relevance for all of us. It gives us a chance to reflect on what's important in our lives.
'So with that, I want to everyone a peaceful and happy Christmas season - and if you can spare some of your family time for Oldham East & Saddleworth, then your Conservative family would love your support!'
Earlier in the week, Government minister Bob Neill raised some festive cheer as he showed how the Communities department was championing Christmas while saving taxpayers' money.
Responding to an official question from Labour's Shadow Communities Minister Caroline Flint, Mr Neill told the House:
'The new administration is committed to celebrating Christmas, including its Christmas heritage. We should not allow politically correct Grinches to marginalise Christmas and the importance of the birth of Christ. Ministers recognise that we live in frugal times due to the need to pay off the significant public deficit and national debt that the Government inherited from the previous administration. But there is no need to play Scrooge.
'In this context, a Christmas tree has been placed in the Department's reception at Eland House which has been provided at no cost to the taxpayer. This is in contrast to the previous cost of £1,037 for a Christmas tress outlined in the parliamentary answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, column 849W.
'Ministers plan to hold one small reception for senior DCLG staff to thank them for their hard work this year. Their work includes the abolition of bureaucratic Comprehensive Area Assessment and other local red tape, stopping the imposition of bin taxes and the unfair ports tax, and laying the ground for radical new powers for local authorities through the Localism Bill. The reception will be held in Eland House. Individual divisions within the Department may hold Christmas lunches paid for by staff.
'A Christmas quiz and Christmas fair are being held for staff to raise funds for the Civil Service Benevolent Fund. The fair includes Christmas carols sung by the Environment, Transport and Communities choir, ETCetera, and by Westminster Cathedral primary school children.
'Last year the Department spent £2,885 of taxpayers' money on Christmas cards. This year the departmental Christmas card, now with appropriate Christian imagery, has been produced at no cost to the taxpayer and will be sent electronically. Recognising the need to look after the vulnerable at this time of year, we are also supporting the homeless charity Shelter in the card. We will ensure that the right hon. member is included on the distribution list.'
Read Sayeeda's Christmas message on the Blue Blog