Two MPs who got elected at their third successive attempt emphasised the importance of localism in their maiden speeches last Thursday.
"The localism that is evident from the Gracious Speech is one that I know the people of Enfield will welcome, so that they, and not remote politicians, can shape and influence the neighbourhood as they see fit. We were honoured when that localism was made acutely evident when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health visited our hospital, Chase Farm, within 14 days of the general election. He immediately stopped the top-down, London-led, unwelcome and unpopular reconfiguration plans for our hospital and returned the control and direction of our health care needs to residents and GPs, removing the threat of forced closures. That was a welcome demonstration of localism and of the new Government in action.
"That same localism is proposed across other key areas that dominate people’s day-to-day lives, including planning, which can literally have an impact on the street they live on. The Queen’s Speech marks the first real opportunity for an MP to work with his constituents, local authorities and public bodies to shape their neighbourhoods, services and environment and thus deliver real improvement to quality of life for all. I welcome that challenge and opportunity, as will my constituents."
"I cannot help thinking that, after being a somewhat big fish in a small pool, I am now a somewhat smaller fish in a somewhat larger pool. I hope that, as I become used to these larger waters, I shall be able to speak up for the rights of local government and the principle of decentralisation of power away from Whitehall to our local authorities. I believe it is a very important principle that, where services are largely locally delivered, they should be largely locally decided on. I look forward to playing my part in this coalition Government in the devolving of power down to our elected local governments, and the extension of the authority that individuals and communities have over the important public services that are locally delivered."
"One issue that I wanted to touch on — it comes within the DEFRA remit — is dangerous dogs, which have become an increasing problem in Ealing and Acton. I was delighted to see that the coalition agreement goes into some detail about tackling that. I am a little disappointed that it is not an immediate priority — I hope it will be, and I am sure it needs to be. We have problems in the parks throughout Ealing and Acton, and I think it is unacceptable that in this day and age, people cannot enjoy their wonderful green spaces because of the blight of such dangerous dogs.
"We need to look again at what we do to protect people while supporting the vast majority of responsible dog owners. Principally, this is an issue of enforcement. I am not sure that yet another form of licensing will make any difference, because after all, as we all know, the good guys buy their licences and the bad people do not bother. It is an issue of enforcement. I hope that the Government will look at that, introduce measures, and see how we can toughen penalties and crack down on people who consistently flout the law."