My Week in Westminster

I write this column ahead of the crucial European Union meetings to be held at the end of the week.

This is the moment of truth where we find out whether a deal has been reached between the EU and the UK; I expect negotiations to continue until the last minute, as is so often the case in EU negotiations.

What follows, more crucially, is if Parliament can then come together and pass that deal into law, thereby respecting the wishes of the British people.

It is very difficult to gauge where we will be this time next week. We could have a deal with the EU, we could see it voted down by the opposition in Parliament, who still have no clear Brexit policy other than to frustrate and prolong the leaving process.

These talks follow the debate on the Queen’s Speech which contains the Fisheries Bill to reclaim control over fishing in our waters, the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination Bill which ends free movement and brings in a modern global immigration system, the Agriculture Bill to support our farmers and the Financial Services Bill to keep the UK open to international markets after Brexit.

The programme also includes improvements to adult social care, a Sentencing Bill to halt the early release of serious violent and sexual offenders, a modernised and reformed Mental Health Act, a Serious Violence Bill, the progression of the Domestic Abuse Bill and a Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill designed to remove unnecessary conflict during the divorce process, which can affect children so much.

I welcome the first 153 extra police officers coming to Lancashire as part of the process of recruiting 20,000 more across the country.

I fully expect these to be on top of the extra officers the Police and Crime Commissioner told me were being recruited with existing funds.

And I look forward to hearing about how many extra officers we will receive in the next tranche.

We all want to see more police officers on the streets and I’m delighted that after years of getting the country’s finances back on track, the Government is able to fund these extra officers.

It was a great honour to be able to attend the canonisation of Cardinal Newman in St Peter’s Square on behalf of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See.

Whilst St Newman had connections with Oxford and Birmingham, he is also the person who gave his name to the sixth form college in Preston, which many students from Fylde attend.

He becomes the first Englishman born since the 17th Century to be made a Saint – and the first British person to be canonised for 43 years.

I’m sure the canonisation of St Newman will be a special moment for all who attend Cardinal Newman College.