Last week in Parliament we had the third reading of the Trade Bill, about bringing trade arrangements we were party to as a member of the EU into UK law.

The NHS is already protected in all of these EU trade agreements, so I did not support the new amendment, Clause 17.

Let me reassure you that, under this Government, the NHS will always be free at the point of delivery; its services and the price it pays for drugs will not be on the table in future trade talks, as was made clear in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto.

I stood for election as Member of Parliament for West Dorset on that manifesto and remain committed to it today; and the Government knows my strength of feeling on this.

I’m afraid that suggestions otherwise, by opposition parties, are nothing more than political manoeuvring and scaremongering; such as was clearly evidenced by Claudia Sorin, Labour candidate for West Dorset in the 2019 general election, who claimed in last week’s Bridport News that: "Regulation, quality and safety is no longer in our hands”, when quite the opposite is true.

This amendment was put forward by MPs who still cannot accept the will of the British people to leave the EU. The powers within this Bill could not be used to implement new free trade agreements with countries such as the United States; therefore, the suggestion by Ms Sorin that the UK is now in a weaker position, and will need to “dance to the US fiddle”, is pure politicking.

In other news this week, Dorset Community Foundation has announced its second funding round, to support voluntary groups and charities who have assisted some of our most vulnerable in recent months. I encourage local registered charities, CCGs, CICs and Social Enterprises in Bridport and surrounding areas to find out more at