HELPING me with my recent flitting were two East European lads.

Hard-working and good company, their English was impeccable and I learned not to assume all migrants from that part of the world are Polish. One was Hungarian and the other Czech, which explained why they’d be speaking English between themselves and not just as a courtesy to me. Both are settled here and one’s now married to a Scottish lass.

I couldn’t help thinking of them when I heard the Home Secretary boast of her actions in ending free movement. These two lads, along with countless others, have come here and made this their home. They’ve added to our communities and there’s not just room but the need for more. Her hostility towards refugees is poisonous and her actions on immigration are harmful to our economy and society.

But as well as restricting those we need to come here, it’s also affecting our rights to travel abroad. I’ve had several constituents express concern at their ability to access homes in the EU. It’s not just those fortunate to be in that position but also those with family abroad. Even in my own family, my nephew is married to a Pole and my youngest son’s partner is German. Even those just holidaying briefly abroad will find costs increased and the security of reciprocal healthcare rights lost.

Brexit consequences are now being felt and they’re uniformly grim, with no redeeming features. Hopefully, a No Deal situation can be avoided but the Prime Minister’s posturing is dangerous, and any deal will be less favourable than what we had before. Critical weeks lie ahead in Parliament but it’s about damage limitation, not delivering for the country’s best interests.

Finally, as Christmas nears, I hope those that can will give to charity. The need is great and it can also be a great present. My family are used to receiving animal sponsorship and I’ve extended it to other support, both environmental and humanitarian. Take a look and see what’s there.