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, 23 May 2013


I have not been in the Commons this week. We were only sitting for two days before a short Whit recess, and the only business was the same sex marriage bill. As I had chaired this through its committee stages, I am precluded by very strict rules from speaking or voting on it at any stage. So I chose to stay and work in the constituency.

The difference between the work in the constituency and Commons could hardly be starker. At Westminster most meetings are with fellow MPs and there is an energy-sapping intensity about the day. It is a hot-house of political passions and nuance, full of twists and turns. You are never quite sure what is going to happen next, especially at the moment.

In Devon, it feels much more like the real world. Meetings are with constituents, real people, and the challenges to be tackled are somehow grittier. I enjoy Westminster but I love the constituency work even more. Who would not choose Devon over London?

Last week also saw the magnificent spectacle that is Devon County Show. We go to the show every year as Jan competes with her main competition horse, and this year she won the part-bred Arab class, to great rejoicing. Unfortunately, I was involved in Parliamentary business in the House that day so was unable to be there, but I gather that this year's show was a great success, with the weather being kind most of the time. It is a time when the countryside can put on its best dress and bonnet and people living in towns can come and taste and see just how wonderful the rural way of life can be. Tens of thousands came.

I have learnt from representing a seat that is both urban and rural just how different life can be in those two worlds. Farming is a matter of life and death, my farming father used to say. It can be raw and uncomfortable. Living on a farm or in a remote village can often mean the complete absence of amenities that people in towns take for granted: shops, community facilities and access to transport among them. But there is often an impressive solidarity in the countryside that those of us with pavements and street lights outside our doors can sometimes lack.

The countryside can still put on a magnificent spectacle. Devon County Show next year is not to be missed.

posted by Gary @ 08:56