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, 28 May 2015


This week Parliament got up and running properly again with that very British of events: the State Opening of Parliament. Much pomp and pageantry but behind it all lies a very practical reality: the Queens Speech (written by the government) contains the legislative programme for Parliament for the next 12 months. It is our agenda, the proposed new laws we will be debating and voting on between now and next June. Her Majesty also says every year: "other measures will be laid before you", code for we may have forgotten something, or we may have to respond to the unexpected.

This has all of the hallmarks of a radical and visionary government. Scrapping our human rights legislation, introducing a British Bill of rights, legislating for a referendum on EU membership, giving housing association tenants the right to buy, continuing our welfare revolution, more robust measures on terrorism: this is not going to be for the faint hearted. With an overall majority of just 12, there will inevitably be some cliff-edge votes on the most contentious items. It will be for me a throw back to my first parliament of 1992 to 1997 where we had a similar majority, although hopefully without the all night sittings.

My main focus will be on getting the government to deliver on its promises to us in the south west, especially in relation to transport infrastructure. I have no reason to suppose that this will not happen, but I have been around long enough to know that it cannot be taken for granted.

I have also to raise two issues of a wider nature. First, to press for a change in the law on travellers. We looked at this briefly in the last Parliament but there were those in the coalition who were not persuaded. Most of us are now thoroughly fed up with there being one law for us and another law for a small group who are neither vulnerable nor of a particular ethnicity – they simply behave as though they are above the law, and keep getting away with it. This has to be tackled.

I also want to raise the issue of more support for people who adopt children – especially in later years when some of the problems flowing from traumatic early years start to trickle through. We are not supporting this group well enough at the moment.

It feels like it is going to be another busy year.

posted by Gary @ 11:52