Queen Victoria’s Tomb to be Restored

Sir Edward Leigh Advocates Work to Save Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore

Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Buckingham Palace is undertaking significant works to preserve and restore Queen Victoria’s final resting place in the aftermath of a 2009 hearing chaired by Sir Edward Leigh MP. The Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore contains the tomb of Queen Victoria, Britain’s second-longest reigning monarch, and her husband Prince Albert, but has been closed to the public since 2007 after it was declared structurally unsound.

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, wrote to Buckingham Palace last month noting that Frogmore Mausoleum is “the resting place of one of Britain’s greatest and longest-reigning monarchs” and a “building of great historical significance.”

“I can’t help but think it would be good for historical awareness for the building to be in good condition and open to the public,” the MP of more than three decades’ service in the Commons continued.

The case of the Royal Mausoleum was singled out during a 2009 hearing of the Public Accounts Commission while the Gainsborough MP served as Chairman of the parliamentary spending watchdog.

Sir Michael Stevens, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, noted in his reply that, since the 2009 hearing, “we have embarked on an extensive programme of environmental monitoring.”

“The results of this monitoring has led to certain temporary works being undertaken which have facilitated the drying out of the mausoleum,” Sir Michael said, “which means we are now in a position to begin a major phase of repair later this year.”

Sir Edward Leigh said that he was pleased to hear of the full programme of works planned for the mausoleum.

“I am delighted that Buckingham Palace are ensuring the necessary work is being done to restore this beautiful mausoleum to a state befitting the Queen-Empress who gave her name to the era of Britain’s greatest age of social, cultural, and economic advancement.”

“When we think of Napoleon in Les Invalides and Lenin in his tomb in Red Square, it is humbling and somehow typically British to think that one of our country’s greatest monarchs is buried in an almost forgotten resting place.”

“I hope one day it will be better known,” Sir Edward commented, “and I am glad to see further substantial restoration will commence shortly.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | February 8th, 2018

Prime Minister Responds to Sir Edward’s Letter on Europe

Prime Minister Theresa May has responded to a letter signed by Sir Edward Leigh and co-signed by ten other Conservative colleagues, asserting that the United Kingdom will indeed have left the European Union by 30 March 2019.

“As you know, I am steadfast in my commitment to securing a new, deep and special partnership with the European Union as we leave,” the Prime Minister wrote, “one in which the movement of goods and services will be as tariff-free and frictionless as possible. In that partnership we will be in control of our own laws, borders and finances.”

“By 30 March 2019, the UK will cease to be an EU Member State. The EU treaties will no longer apply and we will have left the Single Market and the Customs Union. We are currently seeking to agree a strictly time-limited implementation period during which our market access continues on current terms, so that businesses and people in the UK and EU have time to prepare for the new .arrangements.”

“I assure you,” she continued, “that I am focused on securing a good outcome in these negotiations, which I believe is in the interests of both sides. However, as I have said many times before, a responsible Government should prepare for all potential outcomes, which is exactly what we are doing.”

In their letter of support to the Prime Minister, Sir Edward and his co-signatories said that “Brexit must mean Brexit and must not be subverted.” They expressed gratitude for her assurances in the Commons that the United Kingdom would have full regulatory autonomy after Brexit. The MPs also asserted their full support for the Prime Minister in the event it proves impossible to reach a deal with the European Union.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | February 8th, 2018

Sir Edward Welcomes Investment in Gainsborough Southern Urban Extension Helping to Unlock the Homes Gainsborough Needs

Sir Edward Leigh MP has welcomed the announcement today £2,123,184 for the Gainsborough Southern Urban Extension in West Lindsey.

The government has announced £866 million investment in local housing projects to help get up to 200,000 extra homes built. In West Lindsey this could deliver 245 homes by 2022, and 2,500 homes in total.

This funding will support local work that will make housing developments viable and get much-needed homes built more quickly. Without this financial support these projects would struggle to go ahead or take years for work to begin.

This government is committed to building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s so more people are able buy a home of their own. The funding announced today is the first wave of funding from the £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund which is part of our comprehensive programme to fix the broken housing market that has left too many struggling to afford a place of their own.

This latest investment and will fund key local infrastructure projects including new roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work, all essential ahead of building the homes.

Sir Edward commented:

“It’s great news that Gainsborough Southern Urban Extension has been allocated £2,123,184 to support local work in West Lindsey, so we can help ensure we build the homes people need more quickly. This funding could lead to up to 245 homes being delivered by 2022.

“We are determined to build the right homes in the right places and help the next generation to get the keys to a home of their own.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

“Today marks the first step of the multi-billion pound investment we announced at the Budget to help build the homes our country needs.

“This fund finances vital infrastructure such as roads, schools and bridges, which will kick-start housing development in some of Britain’s highest-demand areas.”

Lincolnshire’s MPs meet with Rt. Hon. Sajid Javid MP – Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government

Housing Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:

“Our priority is building the homes this country desperately needs.

“This first wave of investment totalling £866 million will help get up to 200,000 homes off the ground, making a huge difference to communities across the country.

“This is just one of the many ways this Government is taking action to get Britain building homes again.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | February 1st, 2018

Sir Edward Leigh Supports Community Hub Plan Between Local School and NatWest Bank

Plans for a Community Hub by the Benjamin Adlard School are being welcomed by Gainsborough’s Member of Parliament, Sir Edward Leigh, who is supporting an initiative by Sam Coy, the school’s headteacher, to bring a community hub to land adjacent to the school.

With the announcement that the NatWest Bank is scheduled to close in Gainsborough’s Market Place later this year, Sir Edward is hoping to encourage the bank to support this initiative and potentially have a presence in the proposed community hub, allowing customers access to banking services. He has also written to West Lindsey District Council and Mark Sturgess, the Executive Director of Operations, has welcome the initiative, saying:

“I hope you receive a positive response to your letter to NatWest. The loss of a branch in the town centre is disappointing.

“We will continue to work with Sam and the school and community as best we can. This certainly is a very exciting and welcome project to this community if it can be developed.”

On Tuesday (29th January) evening West Lindsey District Council’s Prosperous Communities Committee supported a plan to support the South West Ward of Gainsborough, to make it a proud and vibrant neighbourhood where people choose to be, with over £250,000 of funding.

Sir Edward Leigh commented:

“I was pleased, but not surprised to learn that Mark Sturgess and the district council is so supportive. He welcomes the project for the community as strongly as I do, and I very much hope it can be developed.

“I hope that the meeting I helped to arrange between the Executive Officer of RBS and Mr. Coy went well, and I look forward to hearing the outcome of that.

“We should all be grateful for the special efforts the Sam and his team at the school are putting in for and within the community.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | February 1st, 2018

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

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