Four years ago, after much lobbying, Barrow was awarded a £25million Town Deal by the Government. Those funds are to be used for a range of projects in the area, but perhaps the one that will leave the brightest legacy for Furness is the new university campus being built in Barrow, a collaboration between the University of Cumbria and Lancaster University.

The projects within the Town Deal have taken an age to move from ideas on paper to a reality, but this week we saw an important step being taken as ground was broken on the campus site by a very important guest, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne.

For all those at the ground breaking ceremony, and those who have beavered away behind the scenes on this project for years, it was a proud moment seeing progress being marked by the Princess Royal.

I have also been away for three days this week, on a whirlwind visit to Washington to meet with politicians, diplomats, NGOs, advocacy groups and others to discuss topics as wide ranging as AUKUS, climate change, migration, development, food and water security, conflict resolution, and diplomacy.

Britain is a force for good in the world, using its diplomacy, aid budget, hard power, and influence to alleviate poverty, bringing freedom, security and prosperity to those who need it most. Nowhere is this more evident now in the world than in Ukraine, as the UK continues to support President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people against Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.

Too often in these meetings we heard a variant of ‘the world is on fire’ being uttered. What is clear is that no one nation can douse those flames, but that by better working together it just might be possible to do so, and to head some of tomorrow’s challenges off at the pass.

This visit really brought home just how much some of the local issues which we discuss time and again in my surgeries in Furness (defence, AUKUS, foreign aid, asylum, inflation and food security to name just a few), are global and have their roots, and potential solutions, far from home.

It was also great this week to see the Government once again investing in Barrow & Furness - this time, by giving Westmorland and Furness Council £156 million to improve our local roads. The state of local roads and amount of potholes throughout the area are one of the most frequent issues to land in my inbox, and I look forward to seeing this money fix those very problems.

Finally, thank you to everyone for their continued support to reopen Ulverston Library, and for supporting my recent survey. The responses include so many personal stories about the library, showing just how important the building is to you and the local community. I will pass these comments onto the council as I continue to lobby to reinstate the library.  

I now believe this issue could be campaigned at a higher level and to do so, I have created a parliamentary petition, which I will present to the House of Commons for debate.