I HAD an unusual start to my week, attending a press conference with President Anni Nasheed of the Maldives, who was released from prison on the islands at the weekend to travel to Salisbury for medical treatment.

Although often depicted as an idyllic holiday destination, the Maldives has a troubled political landscape and is currently one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

Salisbury has long had and retains close links with the Maldives – the consequence of Nasheed having been schooled here during his late teens.

The continuing arbitrary detention of political opponents of the ruling regime continues and it is my hope that, once Anni has received the treatment he needs for injuries related to his mistreatment while in custody, the world will wake up to the need for targeted sanctions.

Following on from that, I and 20 colleagues attended a meeting with Bill Gates. Numerous constituents have emailed me in recent weeks about the global battle against polio and it was fascinating to hear about The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s work towards eradicating polio.

The group also discussed how close relationships with the Department for International Development help to avoid duplication between government aid and private philanthropy, so that the two can work together to achieve the maximum amount of good.

The remainder of the week in parliament has been dominated by preparations for the second reading of the Enterprise Bill, which takes place next week.

The bill contains a number of reforms to support businesses and cut red tape: including the creation of a small business commissioner to help with late payment disputes, extending the Primary Authority Scheme, protecting the “apprenticeship” brand, and streamlining valuation reporting requirements.