Sir Edward Disappointed by Scampton Air Show Announcement

Sir Edward Leigh, the member of parliament who’s Gainsborough constituency includes RAF Scampton, has been disappointed by news that there will not be a Scampton Air Show in 2018. He said:

“After the success of the first Scampton Air Show, this year, I had obviously hoped that it would become a regular fixture. Unfortunately the RAF Charitable Trust has taken the decision to not to stage an airshow next year as they say they want to ‘learn lessons’ from this year’s experience.

“So, I am saddened to learn that there won’t be a Scampton Airshow in 2018. But I stand ready to assist where I can to support the RAF Charitable Trust’s ambition to hold an airshow the following year in 2019. I know that my colleagues on both West Lindsey and Lincolnshire County Council will also be will to assist in keeping the RAF’s airshow in Lincolnshire’s big skies.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 14th, 2017

Sir Edward Requests Gainsborough’s NatWest Bank Branch Remains Open

Sir Edward Leigh, the veteran Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has written to the Chairman of the National Westminster Bank plc., Sir Howard Davis, to urge the bank, in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider its decision to close the branch in Gainsborough’s Market Place.

The constituency, which Sir Edward has represented for near thirty-five years, has suffered closure of all its NatWest branches except that in Gainsborough. Both the branches in Caistor and Market Rasen have been permanently closed in recent years. This additional closure is a terrible blow for the town. Sir Edward said:

“Towns like Gainsborough are facing growing pressures but also opportunities. Gainsborough in particular has featured redevelopments like Marshall’s Yard which have brought life and business into the town.

“Gainsborough is expected to see economic growth of 12% in future years, supported by an increase in housing of 47%. As the town moves from a modest population of around 20,000 to in excess of 30,000, it is a growing and important urban centre and one that would benefit from retaining its NatWest branch.”

Sir Edward, in his letter, also pointed out that whilst branch banking is on the decline, nevertheless many older constituents, who are less likely to use internet banking, prefer face-to-face contact in bank branches.

The MP has requested that the decision is revisited and offered to have a meeting with Sir Howard to discuss the matter.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | December 7th, 2017

Lincolnshire MPs Meet With Local Government Minister Over Fair Funding Campaign

Sir Edward Leigh, the veteran Member of Parliament for the Gainsborough constituency, has taken part in a meeting with other Lincolnshire MPs and the Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, about the important issue of getting a fairer funding deal from central government for local government in Lincolnshire.

Lincolnshire MPs meet Secretary of State Sajid Javid MP

Lincolnshire MPs meet with Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Sir Edward has joined fellow parliamentarians and local councils across Lincolnshire is seeking a fairer funding deal from central government for the county. Currently Lincolnshire County Council estimates that the county would benefit from £116 million of extra funding if Lincolnshire received the national average for council areas in England.

Sir Edward was joined by Matt Warman MP (Boston & Skegness), Victoria Atkins (Louth & Horncastle) and Dr. Caroline Johnson (Sleaford & North Hykeham) at a meeting with the minister on Wednesday, 11th October 2017. Sir Edward Leigh said:

“Lincolnshire’s Conservative Members of Parliament are working as a team to make sure that this issue is on the radar of ministers. Next week I look forward to joining my colleagues and welcoming Cllr. Martin Hill, the Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, to a meeting with the Secretary of State to discuss this issue.

“A fairer funding deal for Lincolnshire could help with providing key transport infrastructure improvements or fibre broadband to all the county’s businesses. The sort of money we are missing out on would equate to building a new hospital or a by-pass scheme – each year.

“Fundamentally this is an issue of fairness. It is surely unfair for other shire areas to, on average, receive an extra £57m a year – whilst in metropolitan areas that figure rises to £87m a year and in London it’s £141m a year.

“Lincolnshire needs to fight now to make sure our voice is heard. So local people and parish councils should add their voices to our district councils and county council to make soure we get the best possible deal for Lincolnshire.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | October 12th, 2017

Sir Edward Seeks Generous Settlement with EU as Withdrawal Bill Passes First Vote

Sir Edward Leigh has voted to support the EU Withdrawal Bill in one of the first major parliamentary votes on Brexit, following a memorable intervention in which he sought a generous settlement with the EU and described infamous 16th century king Henry VIII as his kind of bastard.

MPs supported the EU Withdrawal Bill by 326 votes to 290 in the early hours of Tuesday, 12th September 2017, effectively giving Prime Minister Theresa May a Brexit majority of 36 with seven Labour rebels joining the government in the lobbies.

The purpose of the legislation is to transfer EU laws to British law upon the UK’s exit from the European Union; although it has labelled a “power grab” by some critics.

A number of Conservative MPs also raised concerns about plans to rewrite some laws without consulting Parliament, known as “Henry VIII powers”, although all supported the government on Tuesday.

Speaking earlier in the debate Sir Edward said:

“There is a lot of false anger. I have sat through many debates in which shadow Secretaries of State puffed themselves up. We have heard a lot about Henry VIII.

“When I was a rebel I used to care about these things. Now I am a loyalist I let the government get away with it in many ways. Henry VIII is a bastard, but he is my kind of bastard.

“I have made my point. Listen to the House, accept some amendments and ensure that this process is time limited.

“The key thing for our constituents is this: that we leave the EU at the end of March 2019; that any implementation period lasts only two years; and that we then become an open, free-trading nation with the whole world, with a free trade agreement with the EU.

“Stick to the essentials, be confident, be generous with the House and we will win this battle.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | September 12th, 2017

Debate on the Queen’s Speech

27 June 2017 – House of Commons

Unfortunately, Mr Deputy Speaker, this is not my maiden speech. I am happy to welcome you to the Chair. It is 34 years since you and I arrived in this place—some would say too long—but we are still surviving. It is my great pleasure to congratulate, as I am sure all Members wish to do, my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen South (Ross Thomson), who made a speech that was witty and to the purpose. I am sure that the good people of Aberdeen, like those of Lincolnshire, which abuts Grimsby, will welcome our taking back control of our fisheries, which will be a vital part of the Brexit negotiations.

I think that what people want, particularly young people, is for us to be positive, aspirational and honest. If there is any fault with our Prime Minister, it is that during the general election we were almost too honest in explaining the level of the national debt, but in these debates we have to keep making the point. We have heard many calls for more public spending, but it all comes from hard-pressed taxpayers. I make no apology for reminding the House that the national debt stands at £1.7 trillion. In the five minutes that it was going to take me to make this speech, the national debt will have risen by £443,000—it will rise a bit less in four minutes, but it is still going up. There is no point in talking about cutting the deficit if the national debt keeps rising remorselessly every year.

The job of the Conservative party is to speak up for business, for wealth providers and wealth creators, and for taxpayers, because all this national debt has to be provided by our constituents. Sometimes that is not a popular message.

I have been asked to speak today on behalf of the headmaster of Queen Elizabeth’s High School, a grammar school in my constituency that is providing the scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs of the future. It is a high-performing school, but its budget has been cut by £600,000 in the past five years. Of course I support a fairer funding formula, but we need some equality of fairness throughout the country. It is simply not good enough for us to argue continually for higher levels of public spending to accommodate this or that interest group.

The first honest debate this country needs to have is about our ageing population and the cost of social care. Full marks to the Prime Minister for trying to talk about it. At the moment, we are apparently committed to maintaining the triple lock. We have not yet had a full debate in this Parliament about a future adult social care cap or floor, but we must have that debate. We have to be able to convince our ageing population that we have the resources to care for them, and that we will be humane and honest. The same argument surely applies to the NHS. Sometimes, I am the only person in this place who argues that we have not only to put more money into the NHS, but to be honest about where it is coming from. There is a limit on how much we can pay from generation taxation when the top 1% pay for 25% of all spending, so let us be honest in these debates.

Let us be honest, finally, in our Brexit negotiations. Let us not talk about a hard or a soft Brexit. I am afraid that we have to stick to the Prime Minister’s Lancaster House speech. It is not hard or soft Brexit; it is inevitable Brexit. We are leaving the EU. If we leave the EU, we have to leave the single market. So let us be positive, let us be aspirational and let us, as a party, be united.​

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | June 28th, 2017

My Priority is to Serve You

Photo: West Lindsey District Council

I am deeply honoured that voters in our Gainsborough constituency have seen fit to entrust me again with representing them in the House of Commons. This was a tricky election in many ways, and it was humbling to see my share of the vote increase to 61.8 per cent, the largest majority in the history of the Gainsborough constituency.

I would like to thank my fellow candidates for participating in this great celebration of parliamentary democracy, as well as the many volunteers across the constituency who put in hours and hours of hard work to ensure a good result. Every polling station is manned by men and women who give up valuable time to ensure that our system of representative government under the Crown continues to flourish, and they deserve our thanks as well.

My greatest thanks, however, is reserved for the voters who I have sought to represent fairly and honestly in the House of Commons. Westminster is often accused of being a bubble, a world unto itself ignorant of life outside, and I do my best to try and make sure the real world of Gainsborough, Market Rasen, Caistor, and elsewhere around the constituency gets through to the mandarins of Whitehall and the big guns in the Cabinet.

A huge number of voters put their trust in the Conservatives across the country. In Scotland we’ve had our best result since the year I was elected, as well as the highest vote share since 1979, and we even managed to kick Alex Salmond out of Parliament.

But a hung parliament isn’t the result we were working for, but we are intent on putting the national interest first as we form a government. We have had a productive working relationship with the DUP over many years and it seems likely that we will be able to work out an arrangement whereby they can give confidence and supply to a Conservative minority government.

Over sixty per cent of this constituency voted for Brexit and over sixty per cent voted for me. My mandate and instruction from the people of Gainsborough is to help secure full Brexit with control of our own borders and laws. As we embark upon Brexit, this arrangement will provide the certainty and stability we need to channel our efforts towards getting the best possible deal for this country. I will continue to be available to my constituents every weekend through my surgeries and the many events I attend. My main interest and priority is to serve you.

Travelling around the constituency during the general election campaign, often accompanied by my loyal hound Monti, I have enjoyed the chance to catch up with voters from all walks of life. It is vital that the Government and its decisions reflect the priorities and aspirations of hard working families and individuals in our part of Lincolnshire as well as across the country. There is much work to be done and I am keen that we get on and do it.

Posted by Edward Leigh | June 12th, 2017

Sir Ed demands transport for school children

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative candidate for the Gainsborough constituency, has written to Lincolnshire County Council urging them to extend free transport arrangements for children in his constituency.

“Constituents of mine live just under six miles from their children’s school but Lincolnshire County Council has up to now refused to pay for their transport costs,” Sir Edward, who has served the area for over thirty years as a MP, said.

“For a low-income family, £1,000 is a huge strain on resources. The recent finance bill is now law, has extended the entitlement for those on free school meals, so I have encouraged the County Council to bring this into force as soon as possible.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | May 2nd, 2017

Sir Ed welcomes June vote

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has welcomed the Prime Minister’s call for a general election in June and said that he hopes to be the Conservative party’s candidate.

“Voters here in Lincolnshire and across the country are backing Theresa May,” the MP of more than thirty years’ service in the Commons said. “In the months since she entered Number 10, the Prime Minister has shown good judgement and strong character. In the upcoming election I hope to be the Conservative candidate for Gainsborough and continue my service to the people I live amongst.”

“Every vote for the Conservatives will make our country stronger. I look forward to being part of a clear Conservative majority that will deliver free trade and control of our own borders. It would be an honour to stand again for Gainsborough and help the Prime Minister deliver the best Brexit deal possible.”

“Tomorrow in Parliament I will vote enthusiastically in favour of a general election to stop our opponents playing games with the will of the people.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | April 18th, 2017

Sir Edward Leigh recently visited Jordan, where he was able to make a pilgrimage to the site of Jesus’s baptism in the River Jordan.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | April 5th, 2017

Our farmers back Glyphosate

Plus: reviving British fishing, and better dementia care

As a county with such a strong and flourishing agricultural sector, Lincolnshire is one of the breadbaskets of England. The technological advances of the past century have allowed mankind to grow and produce more food than was ever imagined possible. This ‘green revolution’ combined with the widespread expansion of economic freedom has lifted the circumstances of many around the world such that poverty is less frequent now than almost ever before.

Chemicals play an important part in this scientific miracle and glyphosate is one which has proved exceptionally useful to our farmers here in Lincolnshire. British scientists have investigated the effects of its use and their results, alongside the research of colleagues across Europe, show that glyphosate is not a harmful substance. Its approval for use, however, is under the control of the European Union, which has not yet renewed its authorisation beyond the end of this year.

I have written to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, relaying testimony from Lincolnshire farmers as to how necessary glyphosate is and strongly urging her to continue with her efforts to secure its rapid re-authorisation. This is one of many issues which show how much more freedom and ability to adapt to our own circumstances we will have once we leave the European Union within the next two years. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Edward Leigh | April 3rd, 2017

Our future with Europe

I’m delighted by the news that before the end of the month the Government will invoke Article 50 seeking our departure from the European Union. As we enter the period of negotiating our future, the Prime Minister has made her priorities very clear.

The most important and basic principle is that the fundamental powers of a sovereign independent country will be returned to the British people as represented in our democratically elected parliament. For too long under the EU, important decisions were made behind closed doors through the Council of Ministers and ratified by a European Parliament that lacks an effective opposition and the ability to initiate its own legislation.

We will regain control over our borders. It will be British ministers, part of an elected government responsible to and replaceable by the voters, who will have the final say on who is let into the country and who is denied access.

The United Kingdom will also have the freedom to pursue deeper trade links with friendly countries overseas. We are unique in Europe in sharing very close ties of language, law, friendship, and family with large, successful, and prosperous countries abroad such as Australia, Canada, and the United States. I support the Government’s plans to strengthen our connections to the many countries of the Commonwealth, whose combined share of the world economy is set to overtake that of the EU member states in the near future.

And we will continue to cooperate very closely with our European neighbours as common sense dictates. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Edward Leigh | March 20th, 2017

Sir Ed Backs Trade Report

Sir Edward Leigh, Conservative MP for Gainsborough and a member of the International Trade Select Committee, has welcomed the committee’s new report on UK trade options beyond 2019.

“This is a well-balanced report that shows we have a number of opportunities at hand for international trade after Brexit,” the MP of over thirty years’ service in the Commons said. “From the many viewpoints we heard and the evidence we looked at, it’s clear that the Government are laying strong foundations for our future trading arrangements both with the EU and with the rest of the world. I particularly welcome the call for a Government White Paper on UK membership of EFTA.”

“This report makes very clear that the EU and the UK have a mutual interest in agreeing a trade deal before Brexit day comes,” Sir Edward continued. “With issues like financial passporting, the imbalance is in our favour. Right now our strongest trade links with EU states are with Germany and the Netherlands. These are two core EU countries who will be leading the drive for an agreement.”

“The government has sound plans but we do seek greater clarity on what our customs arrangement with the EU will be. The Prime Minister has made clear we are leaving the Single Market, we will be outside the jurisdiction of the ECJ, and our continued membership of the WTO is a good basis for concluding Free Trade Agreements with the rest of the world.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | March 7th, 2017

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