IT was a great pleasure to welcome the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Salisbury this week.

He was here to join with the CEO of Openreach to announce the hugely exciting news that Salisbury is to become the first entire city in the UK to have cutting-edge, full fibre broadband with speeds of up to 1Gbps available to over 20,000 properties and businesses in the city.

This is a nationally important infrastructure project and I am thrilled that Salisbury has been chosen to have this invaluable head start on the communications technology of the future.

In the wake of last March’s terrible events, my thoughts have been constantly preoccupied with ways that I can help Salisbury bounce back brighter, stronger and more resilient than before. I am glad that my many meetings with Openreach last year have now borne fruit!

There could be no better boost to our existing businesses, and draw to individuals and companies working in the online arena, than for Salisbury to offer – not just a beautiful environment to live in – but the best connectivity anywhere in the UK.

At Westminster, it has been another week with Brexit dominating the agenda. At the time of writing, following the Speaker’s intervention on Monday, the government is considering the best way forward in the Chamber.

Last week, I continued to give my support to the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement as the best vehicle for delivering Brexit while retaining close economic ties to our European friends. I also voted to keep no deal on the table and against delaying Brexit beyond the end of the month.

I do not want to see a no deal outcome, but I felt it was important that we kept all options on the table. Removing a looming deadline at the end of the month also reduces the incentive for the EU to give further assurances which could have helped some of my more sceptical colleagues to change their minds and support the deal.

In other news I am aware that a local campaign is underway to gain greater protection for Milford Road Bridge, in the wake of recent damage to the Grade I listed structure.

I applaud all efforts to see that Salisbury’s lesser known treasures receive the attention and appreciation they deserve and I will watch the campaign with interest.