PARLIAMENT returned this week with plenty of work to do to deliver on conference announcements – from freezing fuel duty again to getting councils building affordable homes and developing a skills based immigration system.

At conference, the Prime Minister also announced that cancer diagnosis will be at the heart of the new long term NHS plan. Over the next ten years, cancer screening and diagnosis will be overhauled with the aim of detecting 75 per cent of cancers in the early stages compared to around 50 per cent today. This will result in 55,000 more people a year living for at least five years following a cancer diagnosis.

Screening programmes will include easier and more effective tests, the tests will be broader in scope and focus on areas with the greatest need. Rapid Diagnostic Centres will be rolled out where people can get a diagnosis at the first contact.

Although this work is both exciting and welcome, inevitably, Brexit will continue to dominate reporting of Parliament between now and Christmas. All too often, media commentary does not do justice to the complexity of the negotiations which, inevitably, cannot be fully disclosed until a decision point is reached.

My personal schedule included an appearance before a Lords sub-committee to discuss the Treasury’s plans for financial services and taking my first Statutory Instrument through committee containing measures to ensure continuity in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit – a scenario that I still think is unlikely to come to pass.

Colleagues continue to encounter stories of bad practice by banks in their casework and to bring them to me. This is a perennial issue on which I will be making some judgements in the near future.

Back in Salisbury, following last week’s meeting with the Wiltshire Creative board, I am convinced that the arts in Salisbury need to agree and drive forward a bold vision for the future. I look forward to further productive discussions around that subject in the months ahead.

This Friday, I have a series of meetings on subjects as diverse as innovation in the NHS and local provision for special educational needs as well as visiting a youth charity and catching up with local business people.