A crystal ball is not much use in politics. It might have predicted David Cameron’s win in the General Election last year, but it would have been brave to do so. It certainly would not have predicted that Jeremy Corbyn would be Labour leader, nor that Leicester City would top the Premier League table this Christmas.

So guesses for this year are just those. But it’s always interesting to speculate, nationally, locally and internationally.

Read more: Burt on the Benches Jan 16 - Crystal ball

“I am running the Marathon this year and hope to raise £10,000 to split between Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, a place that I know is very close to the hearts of many in NE Bedfordshire and beyond, and with Combat Stresswho I have got to know through my Ministerial work in the mental health field, who do fantastic work with our veterans.

I know many people will already have charities that they support both individually and corporately, but I am spreading the word as far as I can through NE Bedfordshire and beyond and if anyone could possibly consider sponsoring me in support of these two great causes, or suggesting it to any of your contacts, I would be most grateful.

You can sponsor me online at: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/AlistairBurtMP-NEBeds  

Or by contacting my office on 02017 219 8132  or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The online giving enables the reclaim of Gift Aid on your donation if you're a UK tax payer. Virgin Money Giving will pass this on in full to the charity, making your donation go even further.”






It is true that the decision of war or peace is the most important vote an MP can cast, and MPs recognise the responsibility they must exercise.

It is essential that they exercise it without fear or favour.

Last week’s decision on Syria demonstrated a through democratic process. MPs heard a lot from their constituents, spoke to others who had not emailed or written letters, and gathered information from Government or other sources as they wished.

Read more: Burt on the Benches December 2015 - Difficult choices

I have recently been to join the Shared Lives network at their conference, and to visit our local Shared Lives Bedfordshire.

In a time when isolation and loneliness, in a more mobile and separated society, and an ageing population, is emerging as a serious concern, the Shared Lives Schemes are creating innovative projects and schemes for living in community.

The challenges of care are growing – the population of over 85 year olds will have doubled from today. Studies have shown that looking after and supporting people by having some years living with family keeps them fitter – but it’s not always a practical solution for every family. I am not suggesting that families provide nursing care, but more years of fitness keep people healthier until they need care, and being at home ensures that the NHS and your local councils have more resources to spend when people really support and assistance.

Read more: Villager Magazine December 2015 - Shared Lives

Having recently returned from our annual Party Conference I have been asked at least twice by constituents ‘So what happens at a party conference?’ and I realised that the snippets seen on the news do not really give you any idea of what actually takes place, and how many people attend.

This year in Manchester some 11,000 pass holders attended all or part of the conference. MPs, party members, journalists, NGOs, business people, pressure groups, charities – a huge variety of people wanting to talk about political solutions to issues, share good ideas, look at best practise, and lobby the Government of the day.

Read more: Villager Magazine November 2015 - Party Conference, what's it all about?