This week has been extremely busy in Parliament with campaigning for the Conservative Party leadership contest well underway.

I have spent the week carefully considering the merits of each candidate as it is obviously vital not to make a rushed decision on something as important as choosing the next leader of our country.

Indeed, in any election, I always feel it is important to listen to all the nominees and make my decision based on who I think will do the best job for Fylde.

But particularly when choosing a Prime Minister you are always looking for someone who can provide a steady hand on the tiller, especially in light of the choppy waters ahead as we try to extract ourselves from the European Union in a way which sees Britain continue to thrive within the international community.

Meanwhile, the vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn on the other side of the house, coupled with the ongoing discussions over the implications of the EU referendum vote, has meant this is a period of uncertainty unlike any other I have experienced since entering Parliament.

This week, the Planning Inspector has announced she has passed her report on the appeals over shale gas exploration sites in Fylde to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for a final decision.

I have already stressed to Greg Clarke that, as someone who believes in localism, it is my view that Lancashire County Council’s decisions should be upheld.

And while it is vitally important the Secretary of State closely considers all the aspects of these appeals before making his judgement – I have asked that he try to announce his decision sooner rather than later to avoid this situation dragging on any longer than it has to for the communities involved.

This week’s 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme has painted a stark picture of the true cost of war.

The first day of the battle on July 1st 1916 is known as the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army as our forces suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 fatalities. The following five month campaign would see more than a million soldiers from the British, German and French armies wounded or killed.

Those numbers appear unthinkable today and are a reminder how blessed we are to live in a time of relative peace and security.

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