Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn thank public servants in Christmas messages

24 December 2019, 05:43

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn's Christmas messages were in stark contrast
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn's Christmas messages were in stark contrast. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have used Christmas messages to pay tribute to NHS staff and public servants who are working through the holidays.

A cheery Prime Minister, still basking in his general election triumph, began his video with a jaunty: "Hi folks, Boris Johnson here, taking a moment to wish you all a merry little Christmas".

And he signed off breezily, urging people to enjoy the next few days, adding: "Try not to have too many arguments with the in-laws - or anyone else."

In stark contrast, Mr Corbyn, in what will almost certainly be his last Christmas message as Labour leader, reflected ruefully on his catastrophic defeat while expressing his hope for a "better world".

"This has been a difficult year for many of us.

"We didn't succeed in delivering the change that so many people so desperately need," he said.

"But Christmas is a chance to listen, reflect and remember all the things that bind us together: our compassion, our determination to tackle injustice and our hope for a better world."

Mr Corbyn said it was a time of year the when "the scale of injustice and inequality is in very plain sight" and he praised those working in food banks and emergency shelters, helping the less fortunate.

"While we celebrate being together, we are reminded of the many who will be alone and sadly lonely at Christmas," he said.

"But our communities are built on generosity and the solidarity that comes from that.

"So we do not walk by on the other side."

In his message, Mr Johnson, who will be spending his first Christmas as Prime Minister in Downing Street with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, thanked those in the NHS, the police and other public services who would be working over the holiday as well as military personnel on deployment with the armed forces.

He also spoke of the Christians around the world who were facing persecution for their beliefs.

"For them, Christmas Day will be marked in private, in secret, perhaps even in a prison cell," he said.

"As Prime Minister, that's something I want to change.

"We stand with Christians everywhere, in solidarity, and will defend your right to practice your faith.

"So as a country let us reflect on the year, and celebrate the good that is to come."