Tuesday 10th July 2018
Interviewing Gary Streeter MP
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Interviewing Gary Streeter MP

Adrian Holloway on February 10, 2018 with 0 Comments

Gary Streeter is one of the longest serving Members of Parliament in Britain today. First elected to Parliament in 1992 as MP for Plymouth Sutton, he shared his amazing life story in a much more colourful way than his Exeter University audience seemed to have expected. I’d interviewed Gary before in January 2006 when I invited him to speak at an Alpha launch at a central London night club. Sitting on bar stools, Gary told us how he’d grown up in Devon on a farm with his many brothers. He described his happy childhood in an agnostic home and how he ended up at King’s College, London studying law and playing rugby. By now his agnosticism had hardened into atheism, and he remembers actively trying to dissuade people from believing in God. He graduated with a first class degree, and headed into his career as a lawyer. Around this time he was at a disco with one of his brothers when one particular girl on the dance floor caught his eye. His brother threw down a challenge, which started with the words: “I bet you can’t . . .” and Gary replied “I bet I can . . .” and made his move. We were only given one side of the story of how he met his now wife Janet. But there was a catch. Wouldn’t you just know it, the girl on the dance floor was a Christian. Up until this point in his life, Gary said he’d regarded Christianity as just a crutch for weak people. He’d never been interested to investigate its truth claims. But as a lawyer, he now felt obliged to hit the books. One lawyer’s investigation of the evidence for the resurrection of Christ, Frank Morrison’s famous “Who moved the stone?” stood out. Gary reluctantly conceded that the case for Christ was much more substantial than he’d expected. Some time later, Gary became convinced and gave his life to Christ. Working as a lawyer, the newly married Gary became part of a charismatic house church in Downham Way, South East London. Then after relocating to Devon, Gary was coming to terms with the fact that as a new Christian he wanted to ask God what he should do with his life. He began to feel restless about his career and wondered if there was something else he was supposed to do instead. Janet gave him an ultimatum to come back with an answer and Gary resolved upon a day of prayer and fasting to settle the matter. He told us the hilarious story of how he only made it til 11.00am when after eating 6 jam donuts he felt he had an answer. “Every time I open the bible I seem to be reading about law and justice”. Arriving home, Janet asked him: “Well? What did God say? What are you supposed to do with the rest of your life?” Gary replied: “I think God’s calling us into politics.” Janet replied: “Oh no!” Gary had no strong political convictions and said that politics had been rarely mentioned in his home. He wondered, “how do you get into politics?” He felt a sneaking admiration for local SNP founder Dr David Owen, so he joined the Social Democratic Party and by 1986 was a councillor in Plymouth. “I realised however I was a natural Conservative.” And he then described how, when the notorious diarist Alan Clark MP decided not to stand at the 1992 General Election, Gary quickly found himself not only as the Tory candidate, but just weeks later, in Parliament. I came away feeling that it was a story of a life un-expected, firstly in terms of becoming a Christian, and secondly in terms of becoming a politician. But unless Gary had found the evidence for the resurrection persuasive, it seemed neither of these two things would have happened. He was honest about some of the challenges he’d faced over the past 25 years, and explained how he’d met with a cross-party group of 6 other MPs also Christians, and how he even mentors younger Christian MPs. He finished with a clear invitation to skeptics in the audience at the Lemon Grove bar to investigate the claims of Christ. I then did an evangelistic talk. Gary was clear that he was sad that we’re leaving the European Union, something he campaigned against, but gave the students cause for hope. “I think we can get a deal,” he said.

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about the author

Adrian is married to Julia. They have four daughters. He is based at Everyday Church in Wimbledon, and has written two books, "The Shock of Your Life" and "Aftershock," which tackles the strongest objections to Christianity in the form of a novel.