Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, has responded to the open letter sent to him by the Liberal group on West Lindsey District Council.
The text of the letter can be found below.
Dear Cllr Hague and Colleagues,
Thank you for your recent letter regarding the proposal to house illegal migrants at RAF Scampton.
As the representative of all the inhabitants of the Gainsborough constituency I have always deeply appreciated the efforts our district councillors – across all parties – have made to work for the common good and the best interests of our people.
No one has worked more tirelessly than I have in order to advance their cause and to protect them from this unwise plan to house illegal migrants at RAF Scampton. Since the plan was revealed at I have worked vigorously to badger ministers and officials, putting the case against their proposal and arguing in favour of the £300-million regeneration deal which we have arduously crafted.
Regarding the European Convention on Human Rights, I continue to believe this is a wise and sensible document which remains an effective guideline of how we expect free and democratic governments to behave. Unfortunately the jurisprudence issued from the European Court of Human Rights has dramatically undermined the Convention itself by self-interestedly expanding their own powers at the expense of democratic accountability. This has been unwise and counter-productive.
There would be no need for the strenuous efforts I have made on behalf of constituents to fight against officials’ plans for Scampton if we did not have unsustainable numbers of illegal migrants entering our country. Every attempt that the Conservative government has made to deal with this issue effectively has, alas, been opposed at every turn by Liberal Democratic MPs and Peers, tabling hundreds of amendments to neuter the Government’s efforts to defend our borders and end this crisis. It is disappointing that we in West Lindsey are reaping what they have sown.
My record is second to none in representing our constituents and making very clear to ministers and officials the folly of their proposals. Their inboxes are full of correspondence attesting to this and you can almost hear the groans from the front bench when I stand up to speak on this in the House of Commons.
Up to now we have all worked together on this locally. I think it is a pity the Liberal group is now trying to party politicise this, which will do our cause no good. The best way to win is with cogent legal and value-for-money arguments.
I see little point in gesture politics. Were I to resign the whip, I would become an opposition party of one with even less influence on Government than the small band of Liberal MPs. At least now ministers have to listen to the coherent arguments I am making, reply to them, and treat them with respect.
I am grateful for you taking the time to express your concerns but I give you my every assurance that I will continue to work unceasingly for the people of West Lindsey in opposing any threat to their security, prosperity, or welfare.
EDWARD LEIGH MP