Following a hectic couple of weeks after the election results, I have finally begun the process of legislating within the House. The Queen’s Speech gave us all an opportunity to assess the direction and change the new Coalition Government will provide. I believe this is an exciting opportunity for the ‘New Politics’, of which we have heard so much of late, to ensure that Rugby and the country as a whole begin to take the first steps along the road to recovery.
One of the many changes presented within the Queen’s Speech, comes in the form of the Decentralisation and Localism Bill. The Bill strives to devolve power and give greater financial autonomy to local government and community groups, provide communities with much more control over housing and planning decisions and review Local government finance.
These aims are very much part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat view that power should be exercised at the lowest possible level and that it is often the case that local people know what’s best for their area. As such we have proposed to abolish the controversial Regional Spatial Strategies to aid our commitments to move away from the top down targets that have put so much pressure on areas such as Rugby and make planning locally based and incentive driven.
However, central to the theme of a New Politics and relevant to each Bill discussed within the Queen’s Speech, is the importance of regaining the electorates trust. With 232 new MPs - a third of the 650-strong chamber - there are a huge number of fresh faces and it is vital that we all begin to rebuild the trust that was so badly damaged by the expenses scandal.
The previous parliament was disastrous for politics and trust in politicians reached an all time low. That is why we have proposed a power of recall that will allow constituents to remove their MP mid-term without having to wait for a general election. Giving local people the power to cast a vote of no confidence in their elected representative will bring an end to the concept of the 'safe seat' and make MPs directly answerable to their constituents over the whole of a Parliament, not just every five years.
It is important that MPs remember working here is a privilege - as such, I recognise a real responsibility to get established as quickly as possible to start representing all of constituents in Rugby.