Opinion: Now you’re back in charge of our laws, through your vote, says Peterborough MP Paul Bristow

I’ve written before about how long it can take to change the law. Election pledges become consultations, leading to draft proposals, then Bills, then debates and finally “ping pong” between chambers.
Police in WestminsterPolice in Westminster
Police in Westminster

Even when the Queen signs, there’s still the wait for commencement regulations. It’s frustrating, but right. Unlike dictatorships, proper democracies have proper processes.

And having gone through all that process, when the pledges I made become the law, it’s immensely satisfying.

This week, a raft of policing measures came into force. They include tougher sentences, longer prison terms for child cruelty and powers to stop the idiots who glue themselves to roads.

Most importantly for Peterborough, they make unauthorised encampments illegal. The squalid camps that have blighted Werrington, Gunthorpe, Westwood, Paston and most recently Thorney are now a criminal offence.

As I plummeted towards the ground on Wednesday, raising money for the New Ark City Farm, it was reassuring to know that I would leave behind some achievements if the parachute didn’t open.

Another moment also came to mind. As readers of this column know, I recently lost my patience with Westminster’s public nuisance, Steve Bray, and gave him a mouthful back.

Mr Bray wheels around a boom box, which is loud enough to be heard through Whitehall’s bullet-proof windows. This week, it ceased to be a legal weapon.

After he refused to listen to multiple warnings, the police eventually wheeled his boom box away. He was videoed screaming, “You fascists! This is not law! This is not law!”

I’m afraid it is the law, Steve. It’s democracy in action. People voted for their MPs, who voted to make it happen.

You can still waste your life being obnoxious on the streets of Westminster, but you’ll have to rely on your own lungs.

Of course, his permanent revolt over Brexit doesn’t mark Steve Bray as a lover of democracy. That’s the irony of him yelling “fascists”. He wants every law to be dictated by Brussels and imposed by foreign courts.

Unlike most of Europe, our country’s freedoms have been enduring. From Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, from religious freedom to the abolition of slavery, from the Reform Acts to giving women the vote, our history is one of lasting breakthroughs.