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, 22 August 2013


What do MPs do in August, when Parliament is not sitting? The national press will often write that whenever we are not in Westminster we are on holiday, often under lurid headlines like: Lazy MPs Ate My Hamster.

The truth is somewhat different. It is certainly important that we recharge our batteries after months of intensity. Westminster is an intellectual and emotional hothouse and by July we are all exhausted. Tired people make bad laws, so no apologies for taking things more easily in the summer. For me, the great prize is not having to catch the train to London every Monday morning. The e-mails and letters still need answering, and there are visits to be done, but it is all a more gentle pace.

The summer is also crucially a time of reflection. Like many jobs, it is easy to be driven by the workload: to spend each day chasing your tail, doing the e-mails and letters, rushing around the constituency at the weekend and bobbing up and down in the Commons and on committee when the House is sitting. Doing the urgent, rather than the important.

But if we are to do our job excellently, it is important not just to be driven by the volume of work, but to make time to step back and consider priorities. It is sometimes important to sit under a tree and have a think and come up with a plan.

So this summer, between the e-mails and the occasional visit to constituency groups, I am asking myself two questions. What more could I be doing to specifically help the people who live in South West Devon? Secondly, what national issues should I champion over the next twelve months?

Based on recent local events, I certainly want to campaign in the autumn to tighten up the law on trespass and travellers. I also remain concerned about the number of children in local authority care.

I would very much appreciate your own thoughts on what my priorities should be, either locally or nationally. The economy seems to be going forward at last and the housing market may well be recovering. We are gradually getting immigration under control after years of an open door policy. The budget deficit is slowly coming down. Welfare is being reformed.

Yet many challenges remain. There is eighteen months before the next general election. What would you like to see your elected representative campaigning on during that period?

posted by Gary @ 09:14