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

Debate on Recongising Palestinian Statehood

13 October 2014 – Backbench Business: Palestine and Israel

Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): We are going to be told when we vote tonight that we are being naive and indulging in gestures, but sometimes one has to be naive in expressing one’s hopes for a better world and to be prepared to make gestures, even if our power is very limited. I suppose that an Israeli living near Gaza will think that we are naive when missiles are raining down on them from Hamas. I have nothing but contempt for Hamas, which I view as a kind of Nazi organisation. I have nothing but respect and support for the state of Israel. I think that all of us are very philo-Semitic. We understand the horrors that the Jewish people have undergone and their desire for security and peace.

However, my viewpoint—my strong support for Israel—started to change when I talked to Abba Eban, a former Israeli Foreign Minister and a very fine gentleman. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Edward Leigh hails sharp drop in Gainsborough unemployment

117,000 more people in work across East Midlands since 2010

Sir Edward Leigh MP has welcomed new figures showing that 360 fewer people are claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in the Gainsborough constituency since 2010, a twenty per cent drop. Across the East Midlands, 117,000 more people were in work compared to the end of the last Labour government.

“These numbers aren’t just statistics, they’re human lives and it shows that our long-term economic plan is working,” the former minister in Trade & Industry said.

“People here in Lincolnshire can look forward to a brighter, safer future both for themselves and for their families. We need to keep going so that more families here in Lincolnshire enjoy the security of a real job and regular pay.”

Throughout Britain the number of people relying on Jobseeker’s Allowance has fallen below one million for the first time since 2008.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | September 18th, 2014

Removing the Spare Room Subsidy

On the 'Affordable Homes Bill'

Britain is facing a housing shortage and the removal of the spare room subsidy was a necessary change in order to get the housing benefit bill under control, return fairness to the system, and make better use of social housing stock.

The Affordable Homes Bill aims to reverse this important change, when there are nearly two million households on social housing waiting lists in England alone and 360,000 families living in over-crowded accommodation. Estimates suggest that the Affordable Homes Bill would cost about £1 billion of public expenditure. At a time when many families are having to make cut backs, this would not be an appropriate use of public money.

Provisions are in place to protect the disabled, foster carers, and the armed forces and £165 million of funding has been made available for local councils to support vulnerable claimants in 2014/15. However, I continue to believe that it cannot be right to subsidise families to live in houses too big for their needs.

For these reasons, I cannot support the Affordable Homes Bill.

Posted by Edward Leigh | September 16th, 2014

MP says hotel ‘vital’ for Gainsborough growth

Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has called for the application to build a new hotel on the town’s Market Street to be approved. In a letter to Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Sir Edward said that the proposal was “absolutely vital to economic growth in Gainsborough.”

“The world-class businesses located here have clients who visit from across the country and beyond,” the MP continued. “This hotel would be an important component in increasing the viability of expanding businesses in the area as well as providing a strong support for those seeking to locate businesses here.”

“With Marshalls Yard and the new apartments, this part of Gainsborough has experienced a significant upturn in investment in the past few years, and it would be a great shame if we missed an opportunity to continue this trend and bring yet another high-quality development to the town.”

“It is precisely projects like these throughout Britain that we must support in order to make sure the economic recovery is broad and widely spread around the country,” he concluded. “The importance of this hotel and the opportunities it will bring to Gainsborough cannot be understated.”

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

Sir Edward’s Contribution Tops Local Representative League Table

Sir Edward Leigh MP, who represents the Gainsborough Constituency, has been identified as the most active parliamentarian in Westminster from our area.

The Conservative Member of Parliament, who represents the towns of Gainsborough, Caistor, Market Rasen and Wragby, together with numerous villages across the West Lindsey district, came out on top when compared with local representatives in the House of Commons in terms of parliamentary contributions – not far behind Prime Minister David Cameron.

Sir Edward, who has over thirty years of parliamentary experience, ranks thirty-fifth when compared to his six hundred and forty-four colleagues (a further eight failed to make the table, as they have not spoken in the Commons).

Analysis of the number of times MPs have spoken in Commons debates since the 2010 general election reveals Sir Edward is the most prolific local speaker, having spoken 599 times in 246 debates, with a total of 105,576 words under his belt.

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | August 18th, 2014

Edward Leigh objects to Burton solar plant

Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has objected to the proposed solar plant at Burton-by-Lincoln.

“These proposals would have a negative impact on the surrounding area, not to mention taking prime agricultural land out of use,” Sir Edward said. “The visual impact would ruin views towards Lincoln Cathedral, and would undermine the Outstanding Landscape Value of this area.”

“I’ve written to West Lindsey District Council expressing my objections as well as relaying those of constituents, and I would encourage all others opposed to these scheme to do likewise.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | July 29th, 2014

Edward Leigh: another win in fight against Hemswell Cliff wind farm

Secretary of State calls in application for his determination

Edward Leigh, the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has congratulated campaigners on their latest victory in the fight against the Hemswell Cliff wind farm.

“I have had a letter from Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, letting me know that he has called in the Hemswell Cliff wind farm for his determination,” Sir Edward said. “This means that, just as with Kingerby, Eric will make the final call rather than the bureaucrats at the Planning Inspectorate.”

“With the decision in Eric’s hands, I am very confident we will have a result which reflects the very strong opposition this proposal has faced,” Sir Edward continued. “I have visited the site, spoken to local parish councillors, and read the letters in my in box. Local residents and other concerned parties are almost entirely against it.”

“While a rejection isn’t in the bag yet, it’s testament to the hard work put in by Villages of the Cliff Against Turbines and others to make sure this devastating proposal doesn’t go through. West Lindsey was completely right in refusing the application, and Eric Pickles has been vocal in backing up local decision-making.”

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | July 22nd, 2014

Protecting Children in Conflict

A speech given in the House of Commons, 3 July 2014

Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) (Con): The whole House will be grateful to the hon. Member for East Lothian (Fiona O’Donnell) for initiating this debate on protecting children in conflict. She was right to deal with the Palestinian situation, but I will not follow her example in any detail as I do not want to get involved in the debate about the rights and wrongs of the Palestinian issue, except for noting the suffering of both the Palestinian people and the Israeli people in a very difficult conflict.

I want to make some general remarks about how the British Government could try to improve the protection of children in conflict areas, particularly when it comes to education. Education is the subject on which I want to focus and I would be grateful if the Minister could deal with that problem when he replies.

I should perhaps declare a family interest. I am speaking today because both my elder daughters work for charities in Africa and have worked in Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. They keep me informed of their work and what is going on and, a few years ago, I visited the Congo with War Child to look at the appalling privations that children faced, particularly because of the conflict and the use of child soldiers. My visit had a deep impact on me and I am sure that, even despite all the excellent work of my hon. Friend the Minister and other Ministers in the FCO and DFID, there is still more that we can do.

As I say, I want to concentrate on education, but why are children particularly vulnerable? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Edward Leigh's Office | July 3rd, 2014

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