What interesting political times we live in, and the work at Westminster continues at a frenetic pace.
People continue to be very politically engaged and my column gives me the chance to fill you in on some of the issues that have been dominating our very heavy post bag.
A number of people have contacted me raising concerns about the confidence and supply agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party.
The public expects us to get on with the job of governing in the national interest. This means building on our economic record, delivering Brexit, investing in public services and tackling social issues in housing, education and mental health. This allows the Government to do the job it has been tasked to do and deliver for the whole of the UK.
The issue of financial support for Northern Ireland has been taken out of context. The £1billion additional funding is not for the DUP, it is for the people of Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances, not least the legacy of the troubles, means it faces long-standing and specific challenges. The employment rate is over four percentage points lower than in Wales, over five points lower than Scotland, and over six points lower than in England.
That is why HM Government has made available up to £2.5billion for the Northern Ireland Executive over the past three years. This further support strengthens the Northern Ireland economy in key areas.
This doesn’t mean the Government won’t invest elsewhere. It has shown strong commitment to infrastructure in Berwick-upon-Tweed by committing £293million for A1 dualling to Ellingham and improvement works further North, a new enterprise zone, funding for coastal communities and £2million for a jetty at Tweedmouth dock.
This is real money that hasn’t just been talked about, but has been committed and is being spent.
The UK is on the cusp of an historic moment. The Great Repeal Bill allows us to exit the European Union with certainty, continuity and control. It is what the British people voted for and will ensure we take decisions that affect our lives in the UK, not in Brussels. It is one of the most significant pieces of legislation that has ever passed through Parliament.
We will maintain the very high standards our citizens come to expect in regulation, particularly in agriculture. Furthermore, this Bill ensures we have a fully functioning legal system on the day we leave the EU.
We have heard gloomy stories of how Brexit will damage our nation. Yet, we have just posted record employment figures and we will leave the London Fisheries Convention.
Britain has some of the richest waters for fishing in the world and these can now be reclaimed to rebuild communities decimated by the Commons Fisheries Policy. The EU catches almost 60 per cent of resources in British waters, which has had lasting effects on our fishing industry.
There will now be far greater opportunities for our fishermen to thrive. They can now navigate those waters with pride, knowing their hard work will be rewarded, not punished by policies they had no control over.
I am incredibly optimistic about our future outside the EU. We have a golden chance to forge our own path in the world on issues that best serve British interests whilst retaining a close partnership with Europe.
By working together we can achieve a brighter future for North Northumberland and the United Kingdom.