Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has welcomed Network Rail’s announcement that they are re-evaluating their plans for Gainsborough Central station. The MP wrote to the rail infrastructure body objecting to their plans for new bridges at the station that would be inaccessible for travellers in wheelchairs, parents with prams, and mobility-impaired people.
“Network Rail have let me know that they are ‘actively seeking an alternative solution’,” the MP said. “I welcome this change, and I hope Network Rail will keep in mind the full range of passengers who travel by rail.”
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has hailed yet another decline in the unemployment rate for his constituency. The Office for National Statistics revealed the number of jobseekers in Gainsborough stands at 1,457, a 23.8 per cent drop from the same time last year.
“I’m very pleased that we have 456 fewer people on the Jobseeker’s Allowance here in Gainsborough,” the MP of thirty years’ standing said. “The number of young unemployed has declined as well, with a 24.8 per cent drop in the number of unemployed ages 18-24 here in the constituency.”
“The private sector is driving growth,” Sir Edward continued. “The increase in private-sector employment is over five times the fall in public sector jobs, and we have nearly 2.2 million more people employed in the private sector than in 2010. The overwhelming majority of these – 76 per cent – are in full-time jobs. Overall, the country’s jobs-wanted figure is at 718,000, the highest number since records began.”
“We’ve also increased prosecutions of tax dodgers fivefold to ensure the very rich are paying their share. Meanwhile, Ed Balls is attacking ordinary working people and saying they should demand receipts for small cash jobs. I’d say he’s got his priorities wrong.”
Network Rail’s plans for a new crossing at Gainsborough Central have stoked the ire of local Conservative MP, Sir Edward Leigh. The company, which maintains Britain’s rail infrastructure, announced plans for a new crossing that fails to include ramp access.
“I condemn unequivocally Network Rail’s plans for a ramp-less replacement crossing at Gainsborough Central,” the MP of thirty years’ standing said. “It is brazen of Network Rail to make plans for this station that completely ignore the needs of disabled travellers as well as those with prams.”
“I’ve volunteered with the disabled myself and I know how difficult it can be for people in wheelchairs to get around,” the MP continued, “so I’ve written to Network Rail to express my objection to their plans.”
“I hope they do the right thing and bring in a proper crossing with a ramp to this station which has faced chronic under-investment from Network Rail.”
Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, saluted recently released Department for Health figures which showed an increase in the number of doctors and nurses serving Lincolnshire since the last general election.
“Our local NHS trust has hired 29 more doctors and 78 more nurses, including two extra midwives, since 2010. The statistics also show 11,500 more MRI scans and 20,047 more CT scans, while MRSA cases have been cut in half since 2010.”
“The health of people here in Lincolnshire is demonstrably improving since our reforms were introduced, and I was happy to see that £7.2 million of the Government’s £700 million winter funding for health went to our county.”
“Lincolnshire is hale and hearty with the Conservatives running the NHS, but if Labour return it’d be back to bottomless-pit spending on administrators and bureaucrats. Jeremy Hunt knows that doctors and nurses are what we need, and these statistics show we’re delivering.”
Forty-four Members of the European Parliament have written an open letter to the Health Secretary, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, over today’s vote on the Draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Mitochondrial Donation) Regulations 2015.
The MEPs come from across the political spectrum in the European Parliament: the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats, the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats), the European Conservatives & Reformists, the Greens/European Free Alliance, Europe of Freedom & Direct Democracy, and non-attached.
The text is available here: Read the rest of this entry »
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 »
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.”