I am very grateful to Shadow Home secretary Chris Grayling for coming to see us today.
In a packed schedule we spent an hour at the Town Hall with councillors, officers and the Mayor to review Torbay Councils effective partnerships with the police and the health trust to improve the Harbour area at night and to help Chris understand what has worked (mop and bucket initiative for drunk and disorderly anti-social behaviour) and what has not worked (ASBO's) in this area and why; to help him frame better legislation if we win power.
We also went to the Herald Express and spend another hour talking to staff and editor Andy Phelan there about many of the issues facing Torbay that they see every day, including the effects of drink and drug addiction on peoples lives.
We talked a lot about the licencing laws and the prospects of reform to minimise under-age drinking - we agree it's a problem and my view remains that the fault lies not with shops selling to under-age customers (I don't think they do) but young people of 18 or 19 buying booze legally in supermarkets and then passing it on to under age friends. The benefit of ensuring that young drinkers drink in licenced premesis is that they are supervised, on the street or at home they often aren't.
Chris is very pessimistic about funding for the bypass coming through this year and I think the Herald will go big on this tomorrow; he didn't spell it out but the prospects of the roads budget being big enough to fund us next year would seem to be diminishing rapidly.