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, 24 July 2014


Parliament rose for the summer on Tuesday of this week. It did not come a day too soon. London this year was even hotter and stickier than usual and everybody was beginning to wilt under the intensity. We return in the first week of September, so we now have five weeks now to recharge batteries and prepare for a full-on outworking of democracy from the autumn onwards. In other words, once the party conference season is in full swing, the election campaign for next May will effectively have begun.

What do we MPs do during recess? For the first few days I like to carry out some of the visits that there is not time to do during term time and get all of the paperwork and e-mails up to date. But every year we notice that once the schools break up nobody is much interested in contacting their Member of Parliament, thank goodness, so we tend to slip into summer time working for four weeks, just ticking over. I find it a good time to sit under a tree and read and think about the big picture issues that we don't get a chance to consider properly during the hurly-burly. One thing I am wrestling with this summer is how to try and achieve a measure of unity in this region over the future of our railway, when there are so many differing views. As I drive our P registration horse lorry up the M5 over the next few weeks while Jan competes on her horse, I shall ponder these things.

More MPs than usual have announced that they are standing down at the next election, especially those who came in from other disciplines.  I anticipate that others will follow suit over the next few weeks. I will not be one of them as I am still loving this job. The role has changed from when I first started and for many younger families, the pressures of living in two places, the unrelenting and immediate media spotlight for a modest financial return (compared to most professional jobs) seems to be taking its toll.  If this trend continues, we will end up with an unrepresentative Parliament full of professional politicians who have never had a proper job. 

I also like to read some history over the summer. There is nothing new under the sun and we can learn so much from the mistakes and successes of our forefathers.

posted by Gary @ 09:33