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 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