Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has intervened on behalf of West Bank residents who will be cut off from Saxilby during rail improvement works. Network Rail plans to upgrade the level crossing at West Bank, cutting the road off from Saxilby and the rest of the world for two weeks over the Christmas holiday.
Writing to the chief executive of Network Rail, Edward Leigh asserted that “This situation is completely unacceptable and cannot be allowed. Network Rail proposes to cut these residents off from the rest of the world at the height of the Christmas season. While I understand that plans have been made for ambulance access, it nonetheless presents a very real danger if any incident requiring the emergency services should take place.”
“More than fifty people live in West Bank,” the MP continued, “and it is simply intolerable for them to be out through these laborious restrictions, even more so at what is normally a festive time of year. I urge you strenuously to reconsider Network Rail’s plans and present an alternative that will be acceptable to the residents of West Bank.”
Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has raised the issue of poor capacity on Market Rasen services with East Midlands Trains and the Department for Transport.
“It is regularly the case that scheduled trains serving Market Rasen do not have sufficient rolling stock,” Mr Leigh pointed out in his letter to the Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond. “There is frequent overcrowding on the trains, and people who need this service are being left on the platform. I have even heard of a lady on crutches who was not able to make a vital doctor’s appointment in Newark because of the undersupply of rolling stock on this route.”
Speaking later, the MP asserted that rail users in the constituency were “victims” of East Midlands Trains’ decision to prioritise capacity on the Nottingham to Liverpool route.
“East Midlands Trains blames poor capacity on their contract with the Department for Transport, but the Department claims each Train Operating Company is responsible for capacity themselves. We in this part of Lincolnshire are clearly seen as an acceptable sacrifice for increased capacity on the Nottingham to Liverpool route. This is not acceptable.”
We have had a very thorough-going debate on the European Union (Referendum) Bill. The bill seeks to give voters a say over the relationship this country has with Europe and specifically over our membership of the European Union. We in the Conservative Party are now committed to giving people that referendum, which would be our first on the subject since 1975. The other parties are saying they are in favour of a referendum if any more significant transfers of power from Britain to Brussels occur, though they never do define what they mean by significant.
In the debate, I intervened to point out that it is clear that we want to be able to control our own borders, fishing, agriculture, and courts, and we want to stop small businesses being hit by ever more regulation. I kept goading the Labour members opposite, trying to find out if they would support even just the idea of giving voters a referendum on membership. From every Labour MP I asked, the answer I received was a model of evasion, avoiding the question and dodging the issue. “Of course, we are in favour of a referendum in principle…” But if we in Parliament do not translate principles into practice, we risk further deepening of the divide between the government and the people. Read the rest of this entry »
Note: This article first appeared in Crossbow, the magazine of the Bow Group, as ‘Conservatives and party membership’.
Conservative activists and backbenchers can be forgiven for sometimes feeling that we, as a party, are like a ship with listless sails stuck in the Doldrums. We are in Government but, because of the Coalition, we are not the Government. It often feels like we have to put a great deal of pressure on the front bench to do things which should be instinctively Conservative, or – as in the case of same-sex civil marriage – to prevent them from doing things which completely grate against the Conservative grain. Pessimistic feelings regarding the next general election are widespread, but not necessarily justified.
I am convinced that this government – coalition though it is – has a number of solid strengths which it can build upon when we next seek the mandate from voters. Steady progress has been made across a range of policy areas.
Iain Duncan Smith’s reforms to welfare have struck a chord with voters tired of endlessly dishing out benefits. It’s obvious not good for the public purse, but there has been an increasing realisation that it is equally bad for the recipients themselves. Voters are rightly stalwart in their insistence that this country have an adequate safety net for when things go wrong. But a benefits system that breeds dependency can eat away at the spirit of a family and can destroy the natural inclination towards self-sufficiency.
Michael Gove has been a trailblazing radical in education. The Free Schools programme has radically decentralised education and handed power to parents, while the ongoing transformation of schools into academies gives heads and educators the autonomy they require to incorporate the best practices of the independent schools Britain is famous for. Labour have basically conceded the utility and rightfulness of these policies, while contradictorily saying they won’t create any more free schools or academies should they gain power. I think we should go even further, allowing heads to hire and fire whichever teachers they like, and giving them more powers to increase the quality of teaching and the richness of the school experience.
William Hague has completely revitalised the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and instilled in it a new institutional confidence. Under New Labour, it often felt that the role of Foreign Secretary was just a very senior cabinet post to be doled out to whichever parliamentary bigwig needed to be appeased. Hague made clear from his first day on the job that Foreign Secretary was a role he would take seriously, and his tenure in office has proved it. While Labour shut missions and was happier to leave relations on multilateral and European levels, under a Conservative Foreign Secretary the United Kingdom is opening new embassies and building stronger ties with our innumerable friends abroad. Read the rest of this entry »
Edward Leigh, the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, condemned the proposal to start military action against Syria. Speaking on Thursday (29 August) in the House of Commons, Mr Leigh told the Commons, “I will not vote for war. I would never vote for war against Syria.”
“MPs are doing their job and listening to what the public want, and the voice of the public is completely clear: they do not want war,” Sir Edward continued. “They are scarred by what went on in Iraq. We were lied to in Parliament and we are not going to go down that route again. I voted against the Iraq war and I will vote against this one.”
Sir Edward also pointed out that military action could help the Islamic fundamentalists amongst the Syrian rebels, thus endangering the two million Christians as well as numerous members of Syria’s twenty-two other religious minorities.
Sir Edward Leigh, the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has condemned Lincolnshire County Council’s plans for the county’s network of libraries.
“The proposed plan for Lincolnshire’s libraries is completely unacceptable,” Sir Edward said in a statement. “We all understand that in these trying times councils have to make difficult decisions about the services they provide, but our libraries are an absolutely fundamental and irreplaceable part of our way of life here in Lincolnshire. People young and old and from all walks of life find in our libraries a second home and a gateway to an entire world of information and learning.”
“Yes, changes should be made to make our libraries more affordable and more sustainable in the long term, but these proposals put our entire library culture at risk. Lincolnshire County Council must reconsider this immediately and keep our libraries open.”
Following the investigation of eleven NHS hospital trusts, Edward Leigh, the Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has backed the government’s move to send special experts in to Lincoln Hospital.
“The revelations concerning United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust have frankly been appalling,” Mr Leigh said. “The public have a right to a decent standard of care and it is clear that has not been delivered. This is intolerable and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, is right to bring in swift and tough measures to alleviate this state of affairs.”
“I have always been pleased and impressed by the great care I have received from the NHS, but it’s clear we still need to maintain a high level of scrutiny, doubly so as lives are on the line.”
We have been lucky here in Lincolnshire to be free of bovine tuberculosis, which has greatly affected the farming sector in other parts of the country. Since the 1980s, the level of bovine TB occurring in this country has been steadily on the rise, with the number of cases doubling every nine years. This disease has cost the taxpayer £500 million over the past decade, so it is absolutely necessary that the government take the appropriate actions to ensure the spread of the disease is halted, that bovine TB outbreaks are isolated, and that the disease is eventually eliminated.
Bovine TB spreads very easily through the badger population whether through direct contact, remote contact, or even through the air. This means that in order to control the spread of this disease to our cattle, we must take action regarding badgers. We all know that badgers are lovely cuddly creatures of which we are fond. We easily think of Mr Badger, that trusty friend of Mole and Ratty from The Wind in the Willows, or of Tommy Brock from Beatrix Potter. But agriculture is arguably the most important sector of the British economy, and we cannot make decisions to stop the spread of disease amongst livestock based on romantic notions of talking animals from our childhood stories.
While far from ideal, a badger cull is now necessary to prevent the spread of bovine TB. The government is also investing in research towards developing an oral vaccine against bovine TB for badgers, but it is still many years away. In the mean time, pilot badger culls will take place this summer in TB hotspots. Even so, culling is just one part of a larger strategy to deal with bovine TB. Herds are tested annually in high-risk areas, and any infect animals are removed, while restrictions on cattle movement have been strengthened. Just because the disease hasn’t reached us in Lincolnshire doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be on guard, and the government’s response has been both vigilant and appropriate. Read the rest of this entry »
A note for concerned constituents: Edward Leigh MP acted as chair of the bill committee considering the current Energy Bill. Parliamentary procedure therefore forbids him from commenting in support of or opposition to the Bill and its contents.
As such, constituents who get in touch to express their views regarding the Bill will not receive the normal response via regular post.
Regarding the recent allegations of politicians using their offices for private gain, Edward Leigh, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Gainsborough, has released the following statement:
The public have a right to expect transparency and a basic level of dignity from our politicians, officials, and other public servants. A clear set of rules should be agreed upon and vigorously enforced, or the political class risks alienating even further the people we are chosen to represent. I look forward to considering any new proposals that will come forth and I think they deserve a fair hearing.
Edward Leigh MP, who represents the Gainsborough Constituency in Lincolnshire, has said he has ‘every confidence’ in Lincolnshire Police as they assist with the suspected terror attack investigation.
Mr. Leigh was speaking as the Lincolshire Police force was supporting officers from the Metropolitan Police during a search on a house in Saxilby.
It is believed that one of the men arrested in connection with the killing of a soldier in Woolwich on Tuesday used to live in a house on Hotchkin Avenue, Saxilby with his family. Mr. Leigh said:
“Every effort must be made to ensure terrorists feel the full weight of British justice.”
“I have every confidence in Lincolnshire Police and their work in coordination with the Metropolitan Police.” Read the rest of this entry »
Local parliamentarian, Edward Leigh has attended a service at Lincoln Cathedral with current and former pupils from De Aston school to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school.
Around 900 students joined past and present teachers and guests at the event, to celebrate the long history of De Aston School in Market Rasen.
Edward Leigh MP said he felt honoured to have been invited to celebrate the 150th anniversary of De Aston school. He added that it’s important to mark the occasion as not many schools have existed for so long.