THIS was Nuclear Week in Parliament. It was fascinating speaking to those working so hard nationwide to maintain our nuclear fleet, and to secure a future less reliant on fossil fuels.

Talking to Cumbrian apprentices from Sellafield, to Rolls Royce about making the engines for our next generation of Barrow-built nuclear-powered submarines, and to Nuclear Transport Solutions about their work based out of Barrow Port, it was very clear that there is an optimism in this industry now.

Nuclear is the bedrock of so much of Cumbria’s economy. A few months back, the Energy Secretary launched Great British Nuclear. I was proud to attend it with my Cumbrian colleagues from Copeland, Workington and Carlisle, as we pressed Cumbria’s case with Ministers. The task now is to deliver. Nuclear Week was crucial to pushing this agenda along and I was delighted to support it.

On Tuesday it was lovely to welcome Janet and Tony Eglin to Downing Street to meet Johnny Mercer, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. They have been members of the Furness Royal British Legion for many years and work with the wider team to support local veterans, organise parades, and represent the County at national events like the Coronation. It was a great opportunity to thank them – and through them every other veteran in Furness – for everything they do.

My role as Rural Connectivity Champion has been busy too.  On Tuesday I spoke to representatives in the East of England about levelling up connectivity. Then on Wednesday I attended an event run by the Independent Networks Cooperative Association who give a voice to independent networks like B4RN and empower them to work with similar organisations to get us all connected.  On Thursday I spoke with a group from Hampshire and heard from them what they need to help them secure a proper broadband service. These all supplemented the information gleaned from the many such meetings during recess, and I know that many of you want me to get things moving. I am now ready to put forward proposals when I meet with Ministers next week and am keen to get cracking.

On Thursday I visited the premier international defence and security conference, DSEI. As chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on AUKUS, I met the three prime delivery partners, BAE, Rolls Royce and Babcock, to discuss progress and the level of engagement of their partners in Australia and the USA.  It is vital to understand how best we can scrutinise and challenge the work of all parties to ensure that this crucial project goes well, to time and on budget.  For us in Furness, me keeping on top of this is a priority, as not only will it bring thousands of jobs, but Barrow’s key role will also help us to deliver new hope, better infrastructure and public services.

While at the conference, I also took the opportunity to visit the excellent Furness businesses exhibiting there, including Oxley Group, MARL International, BAE, Tritech and John Fisher. It was great to see them included among some of the biggest companies in the world.