In Brief

Christmas messages: what do the Queen, Johnson and Corbyn say?

Her Majesty speaks of a ‘bumpy’ 12 months while party leaders applaud NHS workers

In this year’s Christmas Day message, the Queen will say that 2019 has been “quite bumpy”.

Her Majesty will refer to the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation, saying “small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding”.

The Queen’s annual message will be broadcast on BBC One at 3pm on Christmas Day. The BBC’s royal correspondent, Nicholas Witchell, says that the “obvious interpretation” of her words is that they are a “coded message” referring to the divisions of the Brexit debate.

But he adds that she may be referring to “events within her own family after a year which has seen the Duke of Edinburgh's car accident, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex complaining about the difficulties of being in the public eye and the controversies around Prince Andrew”.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson paid tribute to NHS staff and other public sector workers with his own festive message.

In his first such message as prime minister he expressed “solidarity” with Christians around the world who face persecution for their beliefs.

Wishing the public “a merry little Christmas,” he thanked those working in the NHS, the police and other public services as well as military personnel.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Christmas is a time of year when “the scale of injustice and inequality” is in “plain sight”.

He praised those working in food banks and emergency shelters. “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.”

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