Read what our columnists have to say

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - New role will allow me to represent local interests

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

The phrase “vertical learning curve” characterises the last few days as I get to grips with my new job, although I have been helped by the local work we have already done on rail services.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Parliament needed more time to consider data law

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

The Liberal Democrats are working to build a stronger economy here in Wiltshire and across the UK, and last week’s new jobs figures brought more good news on that front.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Spare a thought for the millions who are suffering

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

Phew! So that’s it, then. The House has risen for the long summer recess. MPs have packed their bags and escaped from the hot and smelly, crowded, bad- tempered London to look for inspiration and solace, relaxation and refreshment in the green fields of home (in my case bar a small expedition which I will tell you about when I get back), at assorted destinations.

Farming diary - Baling up as heifers bail out

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 20th July 2014

Richard was left in charge when Ian and Jenny went away for the weekend.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Vegetables soon come to fruition

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 20th July 2014

It’s harvesting time! If you grow your own vegetables then you will be reaping the rewards now – early potatoes will be ready but check by lifting one plant.

My Word - Installing spikes is not the point. By Lisa Lewis, of Doorway

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lisa Lewis

8:00am Sunday 20th July 2014

Random acts of kindness and generosity by the local community are regularly witnessed by us at Doorway.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Dynamic new faces will be front window of party

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

Reshuffles have to be brutal to be effective. I grieve with so many of my friends who have left the Government after many years of hard labour before the mast. Nothing hurts more than being made redundant.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Turf-cutting at new college campus was very satisfying

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

Politicians love a good photo opportunity, and given the necessary emphasis on building a stronger economy, hard hats and hi-vis jackets have become de rigueur of late. But the invitation for me to take part in the ceremonial turf-cutting to mark the start of construction at Wiltshire College in Chippenham was too hard-won to turn down.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Cast your vote for the best independent shop

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

As I mentioned a few columns ago, one of my local priorities is to see healthy and vibrant High Streets across the Constituency as not only does this make for vibrant local communities but also offer business opportunities for many talented local entrepreneurs.

Farming diary - Cows wander via open gates

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 13th July 2014

The week began with torrential storms, accompanied by thunder, lightning and hailstones!

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Take cuttings to create new lives

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 13th July 2014

If you had trouble with runner beans, either finding plants to buy or growing them from seed, do not despair.

My Word - By Ed Deedigan, of Kandu Arts - Life is poorer without the arts

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 13th July 2014

I am sure that many readers of this fair tome found the comment of one of the contributors to the letters page suggesting prioritising the funding of Chippenham Folk Festival instead of contributing to the likes of Doorway (the Chippenham homeless initiative) somewhat alarming.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Scandals undermine confidence in hard work

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 10th July 2014

Cabinet Office Minister, Greg Clark has announced a £129 million investment package for Swindon and Wiltshire.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Ambitious plans become a reality with extra funding

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 10th July 2014

New facilities for students, better transport links, town centre redevelopment, even a digital hub: exciting, ambitious plans are becoming a reality across our part of Wiltshire.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Scandal is that victims’ voices were not heard

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 10th July 2014

What next? After the shattering of our 1970s innocence with the revelations about serial predator Jimmy Saville and the conviction of a groping Rolf Harris plus a line-up of other former celebrity names being investigated by the police, we now hear allegations that during those years of tie dye, glam rock and power cuts (and indeed more recently) those in positions of national responsibility, including Members of Parliament, the police themselves and the judiciary also have questions to answer about their conduct around children.

Farming diary - Making hay while sun shines

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 6th July 2014

The continuation of fine weather, forecast for the beginning of the week, allowed us to continue making silage and a few small bales of hay.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Suckers should be cut right out

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 6th July 2014

At this time of year you may be noticing suckers appearing on some plants, especially those that are grafted like roses and some trees such as contorted hazels and willows.

My Word - By John Craig, ex-Wiltshire fire chief - Don’t let loneliness be deadly

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 6th July 2014

A few days ago an elderly lady was discovered in her flat in Bournemouth. She had been dead for six years.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Election’s end result must be our exit from the EU

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: MP James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

Here are a few quotes from newly-elected President of Europe, Jean-Claude Juncker: “The Constitutional Treaty was an easily understandable treaty. This is a simplified treaty which is very complicated.”

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Moving around our county quickly is vital for economy

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

For us to have a stronger economy and thriving local communities, it’s vital that, in a large rural county like Wiltshire, people can get about quickly for both work and leisure.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Summer can be a time of pitfalls for busy MPs

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 3rd July 2014

This is one of the busiest times of year for Members of Parliament as we grind through the Parliamentary schedule but also accept the invitations to the many fetes happening locally.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Think ahead to fill in floral gaps

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Bishop of Llandaff is a favourite variety of dahlia

9:00am Sunday 29th June 2014

If you grow big oriental poppies, they will have gone over by now and the leaves will be starting to look really tatty, so shear them right to the ground. They will grow a new mound of neater leaves.

My Word - County must embrace change. By Don Jones, of CAMRA.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The model of the proposed St Mary’s cloister extension. It is hoped this will help support the application at the appeal in August

8:00am Sunday 29th June 2014

Last weekend, I visited Richmond Castle in North Yorkshire. It’s an imposing medieval structure that dominates the market town beneath it. As a castle, it’s of no real practical use any more but it’s an attractive part of our heritage. Within the walls, English Heritage has created a beautiful and modern garden that complements the whole. It’s not a pastiche or something that should have ‘ye olde’ stuck in front of the name. The garden is of our time and is evidence that old and new can work alongside each other – indeed they always have.

James Gray - Pulling up a drawbridge at Dover is not answer

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 26th June 2014

I do love the natural cycle of the year – in weather, nature and human activities terms. ‘Blazing June’ has lived up to its name this year, yet the promise of showers for Glastonbury and, no doubt, the Wimbledon final, is very traditional.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham -

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 26th June 2014

I left Westminster early last Thursday and headed to Monkton Park in Chippenham, where I met the local businesses exhibiting at Wiltshire Council’s Business Expo.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - New award will honour the independent retailers

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes MP Claire Perry signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Commons

12:00pm Thursday 26th June 2014

Almost every week I visit one of the small and medium-sized businesses in the Devizes constituency to see what they are doing and how I might help them grow.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - We could live to regret cuts to our armed forces

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

3:00pm Sunday 22nd June 2014

As chairman of the All Party Group for the Armed Forces, I was glad to welcome 120 soldiers from 7th Armoured Brigade who marched into Parliament on Monday, led by The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas.

Farming diary - Future is looking brighter

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: In-calf heifers about to be moved across the road

10:00am Sunday 22nd June 2014

Weather forecasters are saying that we are due for a warmer, drier spell.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - A full-scale war with slug pests

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The Clematis ‘Warsaw Nike’ has put on a spurt of growth

9:00am Sunday 22nd June 2014

It’s a war out there! The slugs – I don’t think I’ve seen so many, and they are huge.

My Word - Change can affect everybody. By Lisa Lewis, of Doorway

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lisa Lewis

8:00am Sunday 22nd June 2014

When we work with a person, is there only an individual in front of us? Initially, one could answer this question with a simple “yes”. However, if you were to look a little deeper, you could begin to acknowledge that an individual is not an isolated being.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Victims of floods must benefit, not their insurers

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 19th June 2014

Amongst the raucous noise at Prime Minister’s Questions every Wednesday, there are always a few MPs trying to catch Mr Speaker’s eye, hoping to get the chance to raise an issue directly with the Prime Minister.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Activities prove that Big Society is alive and well

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes MP Claire Perry signed the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment in the House of Commons

12:00pm Thursday 19th June 2014

During the past week my schedule has been quite focused on children and young people, an area in which I am passionately interested and where, despite my role as a Government Whip, I am still able to speak and campaign. Whips by tradition as Government ministers do not comment on areas of policy but, due to a special dispensation from the Chief Whip, I can do so – selectively.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Extra cash to help pupils pays off in the long term

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

6:00pm Sunday 15th June 2014

On Friday I visited Staverton Primary School, where I saw their excellent ‘numbers count’ booster classes, in which a specially-trained teacher gives children who find maths particularly challenging the extra help they need to keep up with their classmates. That way, the whole class can move forward faster together.

Farming diary - Grass given well-needed cut

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Mark collects the grass from the self-propelled forage harvester on Stowell Farm to take it to the silage clamp

10:00am Sunday 15th June 2014

Always a topic of conversation, the weather over the last week has not helped the flow of tasks on our farms.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Different ways to stop the slugs

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Didiscus caerulea, seen growing with Ammi visnaga, has  become an unfortunate target of garden pests

9:00am Sunday 15th June 2014

I have been at war! Slugs and snails abound – they are not normally too much of a problem in my garden but the wetness and the mildness of last year has meant that they are abundant.

My Word - By Ed Deedigan, of Kandu Arts - Integrity should be the winner

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Ed Deedigan

8:00am Sunday 15th June 2014

As we embark on the rollercoaster ride that follows the predictably unpredictable trajectory of the fortunes of the England football squad, is there enough time or space given to the wider implications surrounding the staging of what must surely be the biggest show on earth?

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Clubs send the message that violence is not on

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 12th June 2014

There’s a sporty feeling in the air as the World Cup looms and although it has been years since I waved a football scarf (I am a proud Leicester City supporter) I was sporting a woolly one around the House of Commons yesterday, to surprised looks, given it was a warm, sunny day.

Farming diary - County show runs smoothly

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: The milking cows have gone out to pasture. Inset, buttercups may look pretty but their juice is acrid and poisonous to stock

10:00am Sunday 8th June 2014

I have spent most of the last week as a steward at The Royal Bath and West of England Show.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Mildew must be stopped swiftly

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Foxgloves should be deadheaded but it’s useful to keep some to provide seeds for the following year

9:00am Sunday 8th June 2014

A word about powdery mildew.

My Word - Spinning out of control? By ex-Wiltshire fire chief, John Craig

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted there was some truth in claims that crime figures were fiddled

8:00am Sunday 8th June 2014

The older I get the less I am prepared to place much faith in published facts and figures.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - If war was illegal, then we should know about it

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 5th June 2014

A wounded war veteran came to see me in my surgery last week.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - There’s no truth in the term ‘zombie parliament’

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 5th June 2014

A phrase often used in the political world at the moment is ‘Zombie Parliament’, which is not a reflection (although it could be) on the appearance of members after a late-night sitting when, if only our co-ordination was a little better, we could be seen to resemble the famous Thriller video as we shuffle through the lobbies, but a reference to a Parliament that has run out of ideas.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Big reforms aim to make pensions system fairer

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 5th June 2014

This week’s Queen’s Speech marked the start of the final session of this Parliament, before the General Election next May.

Treats aid threatened wildlife

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lola Roberts, 10, Eliza Roberts, seven, and Freya Cleverley, 10, all pupils of By Brook Valley School in Yatton Keynell, with Cresida Wilshaw

3:30pm Sunday 1st June 2014

Four young girls did a roaring trade when they cooked up tasty treats to help a charity that protects wildlife and threatened habitats.

Farming diary - Family fun on visit to farm

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Ian sprays the maize at Manor Farm with a herbicide to prevent weeds from growing up in between young seedlings

10:00am Sunday 1st June 2014

Although our barograph has shown a decrease in pressure compered to the previous week, the weather has not been too bad.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Time is ripe for tomato planting

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Consistent watering is important when growing tomatoes

9:00am Sunday 1st June 2014

Now is the time to put out tender plants such as courgettes and tomatoes.

My Word - Time to fine selfish patients. By editor Gary Lawrence.

8:00am Sunday 1st June 2014

The other week I wanted to see my GP. Now it wasn’t particularly urgent, there were no bits dropping off or in need of repair (that I knew of), but I wanted to see him nonetheless.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Strong decisions have to be taken in Westminster

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 29th May 2014

The good news about the UKIP victory in last week’s Euro elections was that it made ‘spin’ by the other parties virtually impossible.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Poll gives politicians no room for complacency

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 29th May 2014

The shockwaves from the results of last week’s elections are still reverberating around the political parties. Here in the South West, I’m sad to have lost Sir Graham Watson, who for 20 years had been an enthusiastic and dedicated parliamentarian. He narrowly missed out on re-election by less than half a percent of the vote.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - We’ve received message over Europe’s powers

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 29th May 2014

Britain went to the polls last week. Locally, we only had European elections but as I was invited to do the graveyard shift on the Radio 4 election special I could see see the council results live as they came in from across Britain.




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