Sir Ed fights for grammar school funds

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has organised a House of Commons debate attacking the disparity in per pupil funding of grammar schools.

Citing the research of David Allsop, head of Queen Elizabeth’s in Gainsborough, Sir Edward told MPs “the grammar school that [Mr Allsop] heads was the least well funded school per pupil in the county. It receives £4,474 per pupil on average, while a similar sized comprehensive school in Lincolnshire receives £6,481 per pupil.”

“If we are to promote educational excellence,” Sir Edward continued, “it is not a good idea to give the best school in Lincolnshire, which everybody tries to get into, only £4,000 per pupil per year, while giving the worst-performing comprehensive in Lincoln, which nobody wants to go to, £7,000 per head per year.”

The MP of over thirty years’ experience said he was “proud to have two excellent grammar schools in my constituency” and hailed them as “centres of excellence” while saluting county councillors for appreciating their importance.

Sir Edward described the scrapping of grammar schools across most of the country as “one of the greatest policy disasters of the post-war era” and recalled that the schools had achieved “an unqualified and unprecedented level of social mobility”.

In his response the Minister of State for School Reform, Nick Gibb MP, paid tribute to the “exceptional” results achieved by grammar schools in the area.

“Since 2010, 100% of students attending Caistor Grammar School have achieved at least five GCSEs at grades A* to C,” Mr Gibb noted, adding that “at Queen Elizabeth’s High School, 61.5% of A-level grades were A* to B.”

“Those schools are achieving remarkable, high-quality, high-standard academic education results.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | January 14th, 2015

MP secures apology for “totally unacceptable” hospital neglect

An intervention by Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has helped secure a personal apology from the Health Secretary to a constituent who suffered mistreatment at Lincoln County Hospital.

“I wanted also to reply personally to say how shocked I was – and to apologise to you on behalf of the government and the NHS,” Jeremy Hunt MP, the Secretary of State for Health, said in his hand-written note, adding to his three-page formal reply.

“There is much good care in the NHS, but not sadly everywhere,” he continued.

The constituent went into hospital for a broken wrist and was denied her meals alongside other patients in the ward, being told by hospital staff “it’s not our job” when she requested food. The patient was discharged without being advised as to further treatment, and it was left to an unrelated nurse to clean and remove the dressing which was left unexamined, risking infection.

Mr Hunt said that the constituent’s treatment was “totally unacceptable” and noted that he would follow the progress of the case, which “has reminded me there is much work to do as we work to improve standards in the NHS.”

Sir Edward Leigh, who brought the case to Mr Hunt’s attention, said he was “very pleased” the Health Secretary took the time to write to his constituent personally. “My constituent faced an unacceptable neglect, and I’m glad the Health Secretary admitted that,” the MP said. “It’s good to know that someone in charge is actually keeping an eye on things, and takes the time to put a human touch to what can often be an intimidating impersonal experience.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 17th, 2014

End imbalance in grammar school funding

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has called on the Education Secretary to end the funding imbalance between comprehensives and grammar schools.

“[T]he top-performing grammar school in Lincolnshire gets £4,000 per pupil per year and the worst-performing comprehensive gets £7,000 per head per year,” Sir Edward told the Commons during Education Questions.

“If we are going to win the global race for excellence, we need top-flight scientists and mathematicians, and a disproportionate number of them are provided by our remaining 160 grammar schools.”

“We must do more to help our excellent schools provide the top-class mathematicians of the future.”

Caistor Grammar School, founded in 1630, is located in Sir Edward’s constituency of Gainsborough.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 11th, 2014

MP praises £15m for historic churches

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has welcomed Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement of new funds to maintain and restore historic church buildings.

“George Osborne has released £15 million to help vulnerable listed churches repair their roofs and gutters. This money comes at a vital time when many churches are facing uphill battles in the fight to keep out the elements.”

“Here in our part of Lincolnshire, the ancient and venerable minster church at Stow was damaged in a storm earlier this year, so I’ve written to the Rural Dean to let him know about this new funding to see if it might be applicable.”

A keen enthusiast of historic church buildings, Sir Edward wrote a diary of the country churches he visited around the Gainsborough constituency during his 2010 election campaign.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 9th, 2014

MP on EU: “I’d vote to leave”

Control of borders is a must, Sir Edward Leigh says

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has warned that he “would vote to leave” the EU as it currently stands in a referendum.

“I stand by the Prime Minister’s vision for a reformed European Union outlined in his Bloomberg speech and I’d vote in favour of a new relationship, for the EU we originally voted for in 1975,” the leading backbencher of thirty years’ experience said. “But unless there is a dramatic change in the EU we have now, I’d vote to leave.”

“We simply have to regain control of our borders,” he continued. “We’ve always been a welcoming country, but the massive scale of movement and migration we are experiencing was never envisaged by the fathers of the European Union.”

“Free movement of people doesn’t work when you have economies as diverse as Britain or Sweden on the one hand and Bulgaria and Romania on the other. We need managed migration, under the supervision of our own government and accountable to the British people.”

“Norway and Switzerland have very advantageous relationships with the rest of Europe without being in the EU. Some point out they have little influence in the decision-making process, but if we won’t ask for a migration cap because we know Angela Merkel won’t even think of it, then what influence do we have anyway?”

“This isn’t about a ‘Little England’ mentality but about getting the best deal for Britain with the whole world. We’re a trading nation and we want to keep our economic links with Europe while working to build new links with the growing economies around the world in Brazil, India, China, and Africa.”

“We should have an in/out referendum as early as possible, certainly within a year of a Conservative victory at the general election. I’m glad an in/out referendum is now official Conservative policy, and it’s about time the new generation had their say on our relationship with Europe.”

Sir Edward was speaking in reaction to the Prime Minister’s West Midlands speech on immigration.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 8th, 2014

Column: The Autumn Statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Autumn Statement set out to update the nation on progress since he announced his budget in April. From the outset when the results of the general election forced us into a coalition with the Lib Dems, we knew there would be many difficult decisions to be made.

As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t agree with everything George Osborne has done. For example I have consistently stated that he needs to take much more radical steps to simplify our tax system, the overly complex nature of which is inherently biased against individuals, working families, and small businesses. I was very happy, though, that the Government finally agreed to my repeated urgings to recognise marriage in the tax system, and plans are going ahead to introduce a marriage tax allowance (however modest it may be to start with).

Difficulties and imperfections aside, George Osborne’s long-term economic plan is working. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 8th, 2014

MP to meet Transport minister over Hawthorn Rd

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has secured a meeting with a Transport minister to secure the future of Hawthorn Road. John Hayes MP, the Minister of State with responsibility for roads, has agreed to meet with Sir Edward to discuss the road, which is slated to be permanently closed to motor vehicles with the construction of the Lincoln Eastern Bypass.

“As a recent road accident has proved, it is vital that vehicular access on Hawthorn Road be maintained,” the MP of thirty years’ experience asserted. “I’m very pleased that my Conservative colleague John Hayes, the Minister of State for Transport, has agreed to meet with me and other stakeholders to hear the case for Hawthorn Road being kept open.”

“The Lincoln Eastern Bypass will be great for the area, and will bring immeasurable benefits, but you can’t just go closing roads willy-nilly in order to build it. The authorities have failed to demonstrate sufficient rationale for cutting the road in two, and opposition to their plan amongst local people is both strong and deep. Early plans for the Bypass included a road bridge for Hawthorn Road so I’m hopeful we can persuade the powers that be to go back to Plan A.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | November 27th, 2014

Sir Edward calls for more Lincs-London rail services

In Transport Questions in the Commons, Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, called for more rail services for Lincolnshire, including a direct London-to-Grimsby service.

“For years in north Lincolnshire, we have been arguing to get back our through-train from London to Grimsby via Market Rasen,” the MP pointed out. “At the moment, the train stops at Lincoln. What hope is there of getting back our train?”

In his response, the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, said he “will certainly get back to him in more detail”. Mr McLoughlin pointed out the increased number of services between Lincoln and London, and said the Government was cooperating with local authorities on improving rail links between London, market towns, and cities further north.

Sir Edward’s Conservative colleague in Brigg & Goole, Andrew Percy MP, echoed the Gainsborough MP’s calls for better rail links between Lincolnshire and London.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | November 27th, 2014

MP condemns ‘political correctness gone mad’

Sir Edward backs ‘outstanding’ Middle Rasen Primary ‘100%’

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has condemned Ofsted for denying Middle Rasen Primary School its highest rating for a lack of multiculturalism.

“This is political correctness gone mad,” the MP said. “Middle Rasen Primary School is an outstanding school by any standards, and Melonie Brunton is a brilliant headteacher — I back the school and its head one-hundred percent.”

“Just last week I wrote to Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, objecting strenuously to the new so-called ‘equality’ regulations she is implementing in schools. Conservatives have always stood for freeing our schools from the deadening hand of state-enforced orthodoxy. Why there has been such a massive U-turn under Nicky Morgan is inexplicable to me.”

Sir Edward, one of the most vocal MPs and with over thirty years’ experience in the Commons, added that the demographics of the area don’t justify Ofsted’s criticism.

“Multiculturalism is an irrelevance in Lincolnshire with its low number of ethnic minorities, who are already welcomed and well-integrated into our local communities, as they should be.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | November 19th, 2014

Sir Edward writes to University over Riseholme

Tory MP for Gainsborough, Sir Edward Leigh MP, has written to the University of Lincoln again over their treatment of the agricultural college at Riseholme in his constituency.

“The bottom line is that the University is not allowing the College to use the farm at Riseholme, they are forcing the College to leave by 2020 and they are putting housing on the site which the locals don’t want,” the MP of over thirty years’ experience in the Commons told the press. “What Lincolnshire wants and what Lincolnshire farmers want is a first-class continuing agricultural college with a farm.”

Responding to a letter from University deputy vice chancellor Prof Scott Davidson, the MP “welcomed” the professor’s statement that Lincoln was continuing to provide education at Riseholme. “But the University publicly stated last year that Riseholme is surplus to the University’s requirement and is to be sold,” the MP pointed out. “So continuing, yes, but only up to a point.”

“As a Lincolnshire MP, I believe we can be justly proud of the University of Lincoln’s place in our county, our region, and our country,” Sir Edward continued. “But the University’s treatment of the Riseholme situation has not been in Lincolnshire’s best interests.”

As Riseholme College begins work on a campus at the Lincolnshire Showground to replace the one they’re losing at Riseholme, Sir Edward will meet with University officials to try and find a more suitable solution.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | November 13th, 2014

Sir Edward fights for local farm college

Riseholme threatened by housing redevelopment

Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh has written to the Minister of State for Universities seeking to secure the future of Riseholme College, which says it is being forced to move by Lincoln University.

“Local farmers are very concerned that future generations may be denied access to the valuable land-based education Riseholme currently provides,” Sir Edward said on Wednesday 5 November. “Just today an NFU delegation from the constituency came to Westminster and raised the subject.”

Riseholme College, part of Bishop Burton College, took over land-based further education on the site from the University of Lincoln in 2012, now says it is being forced by the University to vacate Riseholme. The College has already begun work on a smaller replacement campus at the Lincolnshire Showground.

“The College is committed to staying in Lincolnshire,” said Jeanette Dawson, Principal of Bishop Burton College. “In the months following the transfer, the College tried to secure longer term rights to stay at Riseholme,” Dawson added. “In return the University made clear in 2013 that the College must fully vacate the site by 2020 and that there is no hope of its leases being renewed or of any land being transferred to the College.”

Sir Edward Leigh, in his letter to universities minister Greg Clark, urged him to intervene to bring about a mutually acceptable solution. “It is vital for the future of agriculture in Lincolnshire that the College be allowed to continue,” the MP wrote.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | November 6th, 2014

Another month’s fall in jobless numbers welcomed by MP

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has welcomed a further drop in the unemployment figures for his constituency. The Office of National Statistics revealed 437 fewer people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance than this time last year, while the East Midlands as a whole has seen the claimant count fall by 28,094 people.

“Today’s statistics show a further drop in unemployment in our part of Lincolnshire,” Sir Edward said. “These figures are more proof that our long-term economic plan is working.”

“Across the region, over 28,000 people are back in work – well over 100,000 more than at the end of the last Labour government,” he continued.

“We’ve delivered this much while stuck in coalition with the Lib Dems. When voters give us a Conservative majority at the general election, we will be free to go further and deliver more savings for taxpayers and greater prosperity for the country.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | October 15th, 2014

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