There are two ways in which legislation can come into effect. 

First we elect a government that will bring forward a legislative programme in the Queen’s Speech that will then go through the Parliamentary processes to pass into statute. 

Second, individual MPs also can create legislation. 

Any member can seek this through what is called a 10 Minute Rule Bill which involves a speech and a successful vote and then it will be shoehorned into Parliamentary procedures. 

Sadly the chance of this passing into law is next to nil as there are so many barriers placed in its way.

In contrast there is a second way in which MPs can change the law. 

Each start of session there is a ballot of MPs and lucky individuals get their name literally drawn out of a shuffle. 

Whilst it remains a complete lottery to be chosen as one of those 20 people this route for legislative reform can be highly significant. 

For example we are currently commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act introduced by a youthful David Steel as a Private Members Bill.

The reason I’m writing about these measures today is that over recent weeks I’ve received a great deal of correspondence on some of these bills. 

In particular the Protection of Public Servants, the ending of certain types of restraint for mental health purposes and votes at 16 having certainly struck the public imagination.

I’ve made it clear that I strongly support each of these changes to the law and will do what I can to speed them on their way. 

The problem for an MP is that initially Second Reading debates take place on a Friday when traditionally they try to be in their Constituency such is the number of requests we get to visit people businesses and organisations. 

Therefore to participate in a debate demands a trade off against other activities. 

Also as I’ve now got some Front Bench responsibilities I’m expected to prioritise those Fridays that relate directly to Defra. 

However I will be in Westminster whenever I can be so juas I view these Bills as being very important.

It is vital that Parliament does not cede any more power to government and one way in which it can assert its independence is to guard its own right to pursue legislation and to make sure that wherever possible government supports it in so doing.

David Drew

MP for the Stroud Constituency