I WAS relieved to hear that the Wiltshire police officer admitted to Salisbury District Hospital on Saturday after he sought medical advice at the Great Western Hospital regarding suspected illness due to the Russian Novichok nerve agent, has been given the all clear.

My thanks go to the members of staff at both hospitals for their swift and pragmatic response to the incident. Our emergency department was reopened within approximately five hours of the incident; all services remain as normal. I hope that this will not deter any further investigations by Wiltshire Police regarding the Novichok poisonings, and that we will soon be provided with full clarity as to what happened in Amesbury.

My thoughts are with the family of Dawn Sturgess who died at Salisbury District Hospital on Sunday evening and Mr Rowley who remains in a critical condition. After Yulia and Sergei Skripal, and the police officer who attended them, there have now been a number of victims of this appalling outrage. We are applying due process and the rule of law to our investigations and have the backing of the international community too, which emphasises the difference between us and those who seek to undermine our way of life.

Turning to Brexit, the Government is now in a position to present a comprehensive and detailed proposal that provides a precise and credible basis for progressing negotiations towards a new relationship with the EU after we leave next March.

The detailed proposal provides for the friction-free movement of goods so that we avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and between Northern Ireland and Great Britain and protect jobs across the United Kingdom that depend on just-in-time supply chains.

The proposed framework for our relationship with the European Union delivers on the referendum result and means we will leave the EU on 29th March 2019, ending free movement and taking back control of our borders. We will no longer send vast sums of money to the EU and a new business-friendly customs model will be put in place with the freedom to strike new trade deals around the world. A UK and EU free trade area with a common rulebook for industrial goods and agricultural products will be good for jobs and we will commit to maintaining high standards on consumer and employment rights and the environment. As part of the proposal, we will leave the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy and restore the supremacy of British courts by ending the jurisdiction of the ECJ in the UK. An independent foreign and defence policy will see us working closely with the EU and other allies, whilst continued close cooperation on security with the EU will help to keep our people safe.

The Brexit deal we have reached will deliver on the democratic decision of the British people and is in our national interest.

I am pleased to hear that South Western Ambulance Services will be receiving a £6.7 million boost from the Department of Health and Social Care. This will allow for our region to gain an estimated 63 ambulances, strengthening our health service further.

The boost from the government comes in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, a service that has operated exceptionally within my constituency and one of which I am a firm believer and take great pride in. The extra funding provided to the NHS is expected to increase winter resilience, helping vulnerable members of society get the care they need. Locally, we saw extra funding being used at Great Western Hospital last winter to open a new ward, which provided the hospital with extra capacity to cope with the increased demand on services.

Finally, as celebrations mark the Centenary of the RAF take place across the country, this is an important time to recognise Swindon’s long-standing links with the armed services, Swindon is currently home to four army reserve units and several cadet detachments. We owe a debt of gratitude our brave men and women in the Armed Forces Community who help to keep our country safe. We should be careful not to forget the Service families and veterans who contribute enormously to the safety of our families and our nation.