Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 13 September 2012


The year should start on 1st September when there is a clearer demarcation between the seasons, the academic year begins and Parliament sort of returns. We go back for two weeks, an absolute farce because just when you have managed to crank up the machine again it is time to pull the plug for the conference season. We only do this to avoid the media onslaught if we did not return in September, never a good reason to do anything.  The fact that most of us throughout the summer we are working in our constituencies, attending meetings, visiting people, having surgeries, dealing with mail and e-mails, chairing public meetings is still billed by the press as "Lazy MPs take x weeks holiday!" It will never change I know. 

What does the next parliamentary year hold? Well, for a start it has a huge hole in it where House of Lords reform was due to be. As you know, I was one of the members on the naughty step who voted against this bill, so I am not complaining about the sudden void that has appeared in our programme.  We are intending, quite rightly, to focus ruthlessly on getting the economy moving and although there are some supply side reforms (deregulation and the like) that might require legislation, most changes can be done by ministerial diktat. I suspect therefore that the next few months will involve a lot of talking and not much new law being created. This is not necessarily a bad thing.  There are plenty of important things we never seem to find the time to discuss and our debates do usually flush out some significant issues for future attention.

We have also just had a reshuffle of course. The days when I used to sit by my phone are long gone and I am grateful for the years of ministerial service that I can look back on with affection. Reshuffle day always reminds me of the dreaded moment when Jan or I are asked to judge the children's fancy dress at a local fete. She usually cops out and brings a prize for everyone, while I take the unforgiving glares of losing parents stoically on the chin. For every new friend the Prime Minister makes when the red box is handed out, a mystified new adversary is also made.

Expect a measure of relationship turbulence in the good ship Westminster over the coming months!

posted by Gary @ 09:23