NOT surprisingly, my inbox has been filled with concerns about the terrorist attacks in Israel perpetrated by Hamas that began on October 7.

I fully back the UK Government’s support for Israel as it seeks to defend itself against these atrocities.

Of course, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been drawn into this, and it is hard to put into words how the families of those who have been murdered and taken hostage must feel.

The rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza is deeply troubling.

Last week, the Prime Minister spoke with his Israeli counterpart and discussed Israel’s response against Hamas in Gaza.

Acknowledging that the terrorist organisation has enmeshed itself amongst the civilian population in Gaza, our Prime Minister also highlighted the importance of taking all possible measures to facilitate humanitarian aid and protect ordinary Palestinians.

Towards this end, we have already announced a £10 million package of support for Palestinian civilians.

This is an increase of a third on existing aid and will provide essential relief items and services.

Rishi Sunak has also spoken with the Egyptian President in seeking to open the Rafah crossing to allow for humanitarian access and provide a route for British and other nationals to leave Gaza.

Our UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials are working closely with the UN on all these measures.

Locally, I am delighted to say some really positive projects are progressing on promises I made when I became the local MP.

Anyone who passes Musgrove Park Hospital will see tremendous progress being made on the project to build the new hospital theatre complex.

It is a hive of activity. And I’ve been following up on the exciting announcement that our Wellington rail station will become a reality having been given the green light by Government.

This week in the chamber of the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Transport himself made a reference to all the hard work that I have put in on this project for many years and again I want to thank the local stakeholder group which I co-chaired, including GWR, Network Rail and the local councils who have been intrinsically involved.

Its facilities like both the hospital development and the rail station will bring so much to Taunton Deane including added prosperity and job opportunities.

This builds on the recent Office for National Statistics job figures released this week showing that over 1.1 million more people are now in pay rolled work since the start of the pandemic and many of those will be in this area.

I know that both of these local projects are developments that you want.

In terms of the station in particular, this was demonstrated by the thousands of people who signed the petition I presented in Parliament calling for a station and the 200 people who attended the initial event I held back in 2016.

Regarding the hospital, I was pleased to receive confirmation from the Hospitals Minister that we are in the funding window for the upgrade of the whole Musgrove site and I will be pushing for a new maternity unit and children’s services to be first out of the blocks.

It is thanks to close working with Government that these things have been possible.

Finally, I was saddened to hear of the passing of Taunton Town FC Club President Tom Harris, who passed away at the age of 95 after a period of over 60 years involved at the club which is a tremendous achievement.

He will be sorely missed and my condolences to his family and friends.