AS you could imagine I’ve been a bit tied up with Parliamentary affairs this week.

I have not been speaking that much in the debates over departing from the EU but I hope you agree it is important for me to be there for the votes.

The debates themselves are largely a matter of the Conservative Party arguing with itself. It will be interesting to see where they go next now that they have apparently agreed on something that is, as I write, undeliverable by the 27 remaining members of the EU. Meanwhile as we all know the clock is ticking.

But you don’t need me to tell you about these things. They are covered pretty thoroughly by the media.

What you don’t see so much in the media are the other things going on in Parliament.

I have been fighting to improve our broadband speeds more or less since I was first elected. I take a bit pride in the fact that things have got better for many of us during that time. But there is clearly still a way to go.

One organisation that has been brilliant in helping improve the situation particularly in more rural communities is called Broadband 4 the Rural North. This group of folk are busily delivering a fibre (that means as fast as it can possibly be) broadband network to people’s homes.

They do this by relying on local communities to do much of the work, particularly the digging, involved in routing their fibre network through fields and along hedges. They are focused on doing this in smaller villages and hamlets. The result is that many of our local farmers have broadband speeds way faster than people I know in central London.

A key part of the model that B4RN, as they like to call themselves, uses is to get local communities to pay for the work that needs doing. They only start to provide the fibre network to a community when that community has provided the money necessary to do the work. This is possible because they offer a good return to people who invest in the company. Part of this return is the fact that there are tax incentives in investing in organisations like B4RN.

Amazingly however, the Government has decided to stop this. So at a time when our need for fast broadband could not be greater there is every chance that we will be seeing less of it around here.

So I took the opportunity of Questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask him to reconsider the plans his department has to remove the tax break. I was a bit surprised to learn that he did not know what was going on but he has promised to look into it. All the arguments for continuing to support schemes like B4RN are very strong so I have to hope he will support it.