ONE sometimes hears people referring to Westminster as a “bubble”. I suppose that people who use this turn of phrase are intending to suggest that those of us working in Parliament are surrounded by a thin and somewhat opaque film which separates us from the world outside and leads us to spend an inordinate amount of time talking to each other.

Certainly, over the past few months, it has felt rather like that in Westminster as we have wrestled with the difficulties of Brexit.

But the dispensations of divine providence have created a method for prising MPs out of the bubble at regular intervals. This takes the form of a constituency-based system, in which each MP does actually have a particular relationship with a particular patch of the country.

Amongst the many advantages of this system is the fact that it provides some serious connection between Members of Parliament and local governments.

I have mentioned in this column on various previous occasions the progressive moves that are now firmly underway to establish a new unitary council for rural Dorset, bringing together the County Council and all the relevant District councils into one entity. As I have also mentioned, the MPs representing the rural Dorset constituencies played a part in helping this unification to happen. And I am now very glad indeed that we have done so, because we are beginning to see the likely benefits of this re-organisation.

I read that the Shadow Unitary Council (which has been working to provide a smooth handover) has identified significant savings, yielding as much as £10 million per year of extra cash for frontline services and almost £20 million of additional capital to invest in Dorset’s infrastructure.

This is welcome news.