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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, 21 July 2016


Many people do not believe that man-made climate change is real and current changes are simply due to one of the regular and natural cycles that have long impacted our planet.

But I do not know many who do not think that we should do our utmost to be good stewards of Planet Earth, our only planet.

The onwards pursuit of renewable energy is a huge part of that good stewardship. The percentage of green energy pulsating through our national grid is rising steadily and nears 20%. This is one reason why the gas-fired power station at Langage, built amongst great controversy not so long ago, is only running at 50% capacity. The future surely belongs to a commercially viable harnessing of wave and tide movement, a project already well under way, rather than reliance upon fossil fuel power or more large-scale onshore wind turbines and solar farms.

The United Kingdom was a slow starter on green energy compared to Scandinavian countries and Germany, but we are catching up fast. We now have to capture the astonishing energy of the seas that surround us – one great long term advantage of being an island.

The future of green energy might be micro rather than commercial scale. More solar panels on rooves, better home insulation and energy conservation, small-scale schemes that power your own needs without reference to the grid. I admire the people, often scorned, who have led the way on energy conservation and production.

There is also a new kid on the block: the ability to invest in the local production of green energy on a community wide basis. Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) is an award winning community benefit society with over 1500 members that exists to promote the local ownership of renewable energy schemes and to help people who are struggling to make best use of their energy resources. They have been going a few years, have a strong relationship with Plymouth Council and can be found at

This is both an opportunity to invest a few shekels in a worthwhile way or to get help if needed. The internet has made community schemes like this so much easier to organise. Like the internal combustion engine, the internet has massive downsides: for example: instant access to pornography, grooming kids and organising criminal activity

But also untold benefits. Co-ordinating community projects, seeking public engagement in worthwhile activities, is one of them. Why not give PEC a look?

posted by Gary @ 09:31  



Thursday, 14 July 2016


The last word on the shenanigans leading up to the leadership of my party and the country.

First of all: wow! What dramatic three weeks since the Brexit decision of 24 th June. In years to come political students will study that period as one of the most spectacular in our history. People in pubs and in living rooms up and down the country who do not normally discuss politics, have been talking about all of this passionately. Surely this is a good thing.

Politics is about how we run the country – it is about everything and it is unfortunate that most people sub-contract it to the anoraks who lap up all this stuff. Most people think about politics for three minutes a week, we are told. A shame as our democracy is what keeps our country strong.

We have a new Prime Minister. Theresa May. Nobody could say that she was not qualified or experienced enough having been Home Secretary for six years. Her premiership will be a sensible one. She will be tough in the negotiations with our EU partners and has the confidence to surround herself with the very best people. I am optimistic that in these times of great turbulence a she will be a steady hand on the tiller – just what we need, as we approach the rapids.

Some are asking whether this means an early election. I see no reason for her to go to the country now as she will simply implement the manifesto on which we were elected a year ago. It is possible that if EU negotiations get stuck next year and she can only bring back a deal far less satisfactory than the one most people are expecting, it is possible that a further mandate will have to be sought.

Much water to flow under that bridge over troubled water yet.

So after so much excitement a period of calm is breaking out. A reminder that our country is inherently stable. The PM resigns suddenly. People protest about a decision to Brexit that they reject. A leadership election plunges into chaos if not farce.

And yet there was no revolution. The army did not take control. Our constitution held. The rules were followed. The wheels turned and a new leader emerged, and this at a time when the opposition have descended into disarray.

Britain remains Great. We are blessed to live here. Let's not take it for granted.​

posted by Gary @ 10:08  



Thursday, 7 July 2016


This is my fifth Conservative Party leadership campaign and I do not enjoy them. It seems to bring out the worst in colleagues. The people doing the choosing at this stage is what is known as a sophisticated electorate (Tory MPs) which is polite way of saying that you can't believe a word they say. Sadly my track record of picking a winner is poor.

My first taster was back in 1997 after the labour Party landslide. I was asked to be John Major's Parliamentary Private Secretary and looked after this bruised and battered good man for 3 months. With John's tacit backing, Michael Heseltine was due to stand for the leadership then, subject to his doctor giving him the go-ahead. I had his signed nomination papers in my suit pocket all night and attended the early morning meeting at which Michael disclosed that his doctor had strongly advised against it and he did not run. William Hague ran and won, five years too early.

In 2001, then in the shadow cabinet, I backed Michael Portillo because I saw that the party needed to change dramatically. IDS rang me twice to ask me to support him. I told him he was unelectable. He won and sacked me. I handled it like a statesman and spent two years sulking.

In 2003, I voted from North Korea in support of the motion of no confidence in him and supported Michael Howard who won and led us to yet another defeat.

In 2005, I supported Liam Fox on the grounds that I prefer to follow people who believe in something. He crashed and burned and we ended up with a young David Cameron who turned out to be one of the most able Prime Ministers the country has ever had.

I have continued my tradition of backing the person I believe in rather than the one most likely to win. The current leadership campaign will long be remembered for the treatment of Boris Johnson by Michael Gove – the shafting of the century.

But in the end, we will deliver up to the party members in the country two very capable people one of whom will become Prime Minister. As I write this article it is likely that the next PM will be a woman.

On 9th September 2016 there will be a new Prime Minister who will lead the nation through this period of turbulence and into our positive future.

posted by Gary @ 09:31