I WAS delighted last week with the agreement reached by the Prime Minister with the EU. The possibility of securing a new deal had been written off by commentators for many months, so it was pleasing to see we could prove the doubters wrong.

Since returning from Brussels last week though, it has not been plain sailing. On a special Saturday sitting, an amendment was tabled by Sir Oliver Letwin which had the effect of preventing a vote to indicate support for the deal.

Then on Tuesday, although the House of Commons voted to support the deal on its second reading by a solid majority of 30, MPs voted against the government’s programme motion, opposing the timetable to pass the legislation. It wouldn’t be Brexit if everything proceeded smoothly!

The Prime Minister has now pressed the pause button on the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB). At the time of writing on Tuesday evening, the government is considering its options on how best to move forward, and we also wait to see how the EU will respond on a possible short delay.

It is very promising that for the first time over the past year, MPs have expressed support for the government’s Brexit deal.

However, in voting against the government’s timetable, the House of Commons is continuing to thwart the swift resolution of this issue and the implementation of the referendum result.

Away from Brexit, in my ministerial role, I was up at 4am on Tuesday morning to join the Illegal Money Lending Team and Metropolitan Police on a raid at the property of an illegal money lender. Loan sharks prey on some of the most vulnerable people in society and it was good first hand to see the work being done to tackle this scourge.

On Tuesday evening I was pleased to support my constituent Sir Andrew Gregory, Controller of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, at the annual fundraising event. SSAFA do a fantastic job under Andrew’s leadership supporting the families of servicemen and women.

On Friday, I am back in Salisbury for my weekly advice surgery and also going to The Close to meet with the Cathedral Chapter and council. In the evening I will then be heading off to Amesbury for the reopening of Antrobus House. It will be great to see a fantastic venue for the community fully operational again!