Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has written to the Home Secretary urging stronger action against people smuggling following the heightening situation at Calais in France.
In a letter to Theresa May, Sir Edward argued it is “clear” that illegal immigrants “are under the impression they will not be sent back” and that conditions for them in Britain are “quite advantageous”.
“Illegal immigrants must know that they will be arrested and held in custody without benefits until they are deported,” the Member of Parliament, re-elected this year with an increased majority, wrote.
“It is extremely unfair on those who play by the rules otherwise, and by appearing to give the impression that once here illegal immigrants are safe it only gives encouragement to human traffickers. Being weak is not kind.”
Sir Edward, who is a member of the Franco-British Council, also urged stronger cooperation between France and Britain in solving the crisis.
“Pressure must be brought to bear on the French government to take a more pro-active approach,” the MP said in his letter, adding that the French police are “well trained and well experienced” in dealing with disorder but that “we seem to be witnessing indecision and dithering on the part of the French authorities rather than productive and decisive action”.
The Chancellor’s recent budget has demonstrated that the Conservative Government is committed to ensuring the whole country, whether here in Lincolnshire or deep in the City of London, enjoys the fruits of steadily improving economic prosperity.
Recently released figures show that real wages have grown at their fastest rate since 2007, with almost two million more people enjoying the security of a job since we returned to government in 2010. In this year alone, employment has increased by 265,000 while those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance is down 240,200 since a year previous and down 657,000 since 2010.
Even when we look at the figures for potentially more vulnerable categories, there has been a marked improvement. The number of young people without a job has dropped by 184,000 since 2010 while youth unemployment rose 82% in Labour’s last term in office. As for the proportion of the potential workforce claiming unemployment benefits, it is now at its lowest level since 1975. Pensioners have seen their state pension increased by £950, giving them a bit more help to enjoy their retirement in dignity and security.
While Labour claim the increase in employment is through part-time jobs, a look at the facts simply doesn’t bear this out. Over three-quarters of these new jobs since 2010 are full-time and the most comprehensive measure of living standards again shows they are higher now than in 2010 with the average household £900 better off than before.
More than 1,000 jobs have been created every day since we kicked Labour out of Downing Street in 2010 and Conservative MPs are working hard to make sure this momentum continues. We want to deal with the national debt by reducing the deficit in order to safeguard the economy and preserve the low mortgage rates we enjoy. We want to help working families and individuals to become more financially secure by cutting their income tax and continuing helpful acts like the fuel duty freeze. We especially want to promote small businesses, who are helping drive the economic recovery, through investment in useful infrastructure and lowering job taxes.
And in order to help the next generation, we are delivering on changes in education to ensure pupils are taught the skills they need to get ahead. Labour were happy to shove young people into Mickey Mouse degree courses in order to fudge the unemployment statistics, whereas now the University Technical Colleges are providing real training opportunities that will help young people to get ahead. We’ve created 2.3 million apprenticeships already and are planning to create three million more.
There is still much more to be done, whether around the country or here in Lincolnshire. We need to see better results on our roads, our policing, and our health services here in the constituency. Members of Parliament from across Lincolnshire are meeting regularly and keeping in touch to ensure we are working together for better funding, enhanced results, and demonstrable improvements in this the greatest and finest of all England’s counties.
I emphasise that we all recognise that this is a massive human tragedy, and our sympathies are with all the migrants caught up in this appalling situation. Nothing that I will say takes anything away from that, but the fact is that we must take action. To a certain extent, it is our responsibility to provide aid, given our actions in Syria, Iraq and Libya. We all know that, but we must take action. There is no point in simply talking about solidarity; we have to try to take steps to stop the flow of migrants into Europe. Our societies simply cannot take this level of migration, and our people demand that we take action.
The fact is that this is a massive international conspiracy led by people traffickers and aided and abetted by naïve people who do not believe in borders. We must have secure borders, and talking in vague terms about solidarity will not do the trick. All that will happen if we let more in is that more and more will come in, which is not fair on them, and it is not fair on us. If we are determined enough, there are quite simple steps to take to deal with this problem and to reduce the pull factors.
For a start, we should go back to the international maritime conventions under which if you leave the Libyan coast and our navy stops you five or 10 miles out from the coast, you are returned to that coast. It is simply ludicrous that people, at great risk to their lives, are crossing the Mediterranean and being picked up by our navies, knowing that they will be taken to Italy. We have to return to the traditional humanitarian, maritime practice of picking people up and returning them to where they come from, otherwise more and more will keep coming.
We must enforce the Dublin Convention, which is not being enforced. Under that convention, you should be returned from the European Union country where you finally end up to where you entered the European Union. Only 3% are being returned, and the convention should be enforced. We should also enforce the Eurodac conventions. When you enter Italy, you should be fingerprinted. One would have thought that if you are a traumatised migrant arriving in Italy, you would be so happy that you would want to stay there. No, such people refuse to be fingerprinted, because they want to travel up through Italy to Germany, Sweden, France or Britain.
We must enforce traditional maritime practice and return people to where they come from, and we must enforce the Dublin Convention and the Eurodac conventions. If we do not take action, more and more will come, and our people will hold us responsible.
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has pressed transport ministers on the deficiency of rail services in West Lindsey.
Speaking at Transport Questions in the Commons, the MP in his thirty-second year in Parliament noted that he was “very disappointed” that a Grimsby train via Market Rasen was not included in the franchise bid won by Virgin Trains.
“It is already running four trains a day to Lincoln,” Sir Edward noted. “Is there anything to prevent it, under its franchise, from extending at least one service a day to Grimsby via Market Rasen in order to serve that huge rural area?”
Sir Edward Leigh has previously written to both the Department for Transport and East Midlands Trains regarding Market Rasen station.
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has praised the late Charles Kennedy, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, in a speech on the floor of the House of Commons.
“I walked into this House for the first time as a Member with Charles almost 32 years ago to the day,” the MP told the Commons, “and among our new intake he was already quite a celebrity.”
Charles Kennedy had been the youngest MP in the Commons when elected aged 23 in 1983, and only lost his seat to the Scottish Nationalists at the general election this year.
Sir Edward praised Kennedy’s “gentle patriotism” and said the former Lib Dem leader had been “proved right” on the Iraq War, which found them both in opposition to the Labour government of the day.
“For all the 32 years that I served with him in this House and on the Council of Europe, although I was always a political opponent, in a way I always felt we were soulmates,” Sir Edward continued.
“I think he instinctively believed that politics is not just about the pursuit of power, it is also about the pursuit of truth.”
“All those years I admired him and it is truly said that when we die, we can only take with us what we have given away. This man gave everything to our House. There never was a braver and a truer spirit.”
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has written to the chairman of NatWest over the recently announced closure of the bank’s branches in Caistor and Market Rasen.
“These branches are important for local residents and businesses, and their possible closure will be a source of great inconvenience,” the MP of thirty-two years’ service in the Commons said. “I’ve written to Sir Philip Hampton, NatWest’s chairman, objecting strenuously to this change and requesting a meeting with him to discuss the implications.”
“Given the increasing opportunities in rural towns, the mutual interest of people in Market Rasen and Caistor on the one hand and NatWest on the other is at stake, so I hope an agreeable solution can be found.”
Sir Edward Leigh MP (right) with the Very Rev Philip Buckler (left), Dean of Lincoln..
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has welcomed the announcement of a Development Grant for Lincoln Cathedral backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“Lincoln Cathedral is the great pearl of our county, and was once one of the major pilgrimage sites of all Europe as well as the tallest building in the world,” said Sir Edward, who sits on the cathedral’s council.
“The Development Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will move the Lincoln Cathedral Connected project into the next stage, addressing vital conservation needs, providing employment opportunities, and strengthening the links between the Cathedral and the community at large,” the MP of thirty-two years’ service continued. “I commend the Dean, Chapter, and staff for all the care and concern they’ve put into this latest success.”
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Gainsborough, has hailed the reaction from voters during his campaigning around the constituency as “the best ever” and argued the public will back David Cameron for another term as Prime Minister.
“Travelling all around the Gainsborough constituency these past few weeks I’ve been taken aback by the warmth and good feeling that voters have expressed regarding the government’s steering the country down the slow and steady path towards prosperity.”
“Voters know that they face a choice between David Cameron or Ed Miliband in Number 10,” Sir Edward, with over thirty years’ experience in the House of Commons, asserted, “and they know we simply cannot afford to let Labour back in.”
“It’s also important that we turn out for our district council elections,” Sir Edward continued. “We face a number of problems here, whether it be the threat of over-development, or the peril of wind farms slicing through our beautiful views and looming over our homes and villages. Our Conservative team on West Lindsey District Council are working hard to make sure local views are heard, and I’m glad on planning matters local decisions have been backed up by Eric Pickles as the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.”
The elections for Parliament and for West Lindsey District Council take place on Thursday 7 May 2015.
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Gainsborough, has welcomed the latest figures showing 664 fewer people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the constituency compared to 2010 — a 34 per cent drop.
“The job creation record of this Government has been nothing short of astounding,” Sir Edward, who has represented Gainsborough in parliament for over thirty years, said. “Here in our part of Lincolnshire we’ve seen unemployment drop by over a third since the Conservatives entered government, with 135,000 more jobs across the East Midlands.”
“Britain has created more jobs than the rest of Europe put together. These are solid jobs as well, 80 per cent of them full-time, and each job is an individual or a family that can pay off debts, spend more, or save for the future.”
“These figures should help convince voters that we simply can’t risk going back to the Labour years of fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and debt spiralling out of control. Conservatives in government are putting the country on a stable route to a brighter future. That’s why it’s vital to vote Conservative on May 7th.”
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Gainsborough, has welcomed the news today that a future Conservative Government would take the family home out of inheritance tax.
The Prime Minster has committed to introducing a new allowance into the tax system, which will effectively increase the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million for married couples – meaning only the very rich would pay inheritance tax. This will be paid for by increasing taxes on very wealthy people’s pensions.
“Family is the most important thing,” Sir Edward said, “and people who have saved their entire lives, putting hard-earned money into their home shouldn’t be crippled with inheritance tax when passing it on to their children.”
“This new allowance increasing the Inheritance Tax threshold to £1 million for married couples will be of gread benefit to people in our part of Lincolnshire. For most of us here in the Gainsborough constituency this should take the family home out of inheritance tax.”
“Our plan has been to cut taxes on the people who work hard and do the right thing. Income tax for basic rate taxpayers has already been cut by £825 and we’ve committed to increasing the tax-free personal allowance to £12,500 in the next Parliament.”
“The Conservatives are the only party who’ve made an explicit commitment not to increase taxes on working people. Voters are faced with the choice of stable prosperity with the Prime Minister’s team, or the chaos and debt of the SNP propping up Ed Miliband in Downing Street.”
Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh has declared victory over another wind turbine application in West Lindsey. “I am delighted to hear that permission for the wind turbine at Kingerby has been refused,” the Conservative MP of over thirty years’ standing said.
“The appeal on the original application has been turned down by my colleague the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, and I understand that West Lindsey District Council have very wisely determined that a modified application is ‘deemed withdrawn’ for failing to overcome previous objections.”
“These ominous blades would have swung 165 feet in the air and loomed over our countryside,” the MP continued. “The Government has been right to back local decision-making so that our district councils aren’t overwhelmed by appeals.”
“If Labour gets back into power, we won’t have a friendly ear at the Department anymore, and we could very well be faced with a whole new epidemic of wind farm applications. I hope voters will see off this threat as we have seen off so many before.”
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, heralded newly released figures which showed yet another drop in the number of unemployed people in his constituency.
“The statistics for February 2015 show 1,381 people claiming the Jobseeker’s Allowance here in Gainsborough,” the MP said. “This is 502 lower than a year earlier, and 76 lower than last month.”
“Since the Conservatives took over the Treasury we’ve seen a 26.93% drop in unemployment here in the Gainsborough constituency. With 30.9 million people in work nationwide, Britain now has the highest employment rate in the history of the country. The overwhelming majority of these jobs are full-time, and wages are rising faster than prices, too.”
“We are creating a jobs-led recovery so that the economy benefits all people across Britain. Given the extraordinary levels of debt Labour accumulated, I very much hope voters across the country will send a strong message and vote in a Conservative majority come May.”