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, 7 April 2016


This Thursday I have been an elected Member of Parliament for 24 years. Ironically, I suspect my finest hour was in my very first year when David Jamieson (the then Devonport MP) and I, with many others, worked around the clock to bring the Trident re-fit work to Devonport rather than Rosyth. This has been worth millions and produced work for thousands.

I thoroughly enjoyed being a whip and minister under John Major in those highly pressurised years at the end of a long period of Conservative rule. Governing with a majority of one every day was a cliff-hanger.

I enjoyed the years as shadow secretary of state under William Hague, sitting around the shadow cabinet table and dreaming of the real thing. But I do not regret for a second stepping back from the front bench in 2004, to focus on other priorities.

One possible highlight since then was seeking to pilot through a private members bill in 2007 to place a statutory duty on local authorities to provide more respite care for families with profoundly disabled children. We nearly succeeded but the then Labour government could not quite support it, but I was able to do a deal with then education minister Ed Balls for councils to receive an extra £300 million each year to help provide it.

Another interesting memory is voting from North Korea to remove Iain Duncan-Smith as party leader in 2003, one of the few people ever to have voted in that challenged country!

I have enjoyed most of all the constituency work to see this beautiful region flourish. Getting the rail network upgraded remains my current priority and as recently reported we are making good progress.

During those 24 years I have conducted roughly 864 surgeries and seen approximately 12 new people each time equalling 10,368 constituents.

One reflection I have is that some people do not get enough help – especially where there is profound disability involved. We could fund this if we could only encourage more people who are capable of standing on their own feet to do so. Getting the system right remains a challenge.

You might think this patter down memory lane is building up to a retirement announcement. Sorry to disappoint you. I am still enjoying it, am still only 60, and have learned that there are a few times when a tad of experience is actually quite useful.

Maybe I am only half way through!

posted by Gary @ 12:52