Election - We can’t go backwards

It was a pleasure to join the Prime Minister and William Hague to launch our English Manifesto in Lincoln.

We are the first UK-wide party to issue a manifesto specifically for England and this document outlines our plans to rebalance the Union by providing English votes for English laws.

With more powers being devolved to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, it’s only right that we in England have a stronger voice in our own affairs, and that we won’t be prevented from making our own choices by MPs from outside England.

Our plans will insert a new stage into the parliamentary process to ensure that no bill relating only to England will be able to become law unless it is approved by the majority of English MPs.

As we intend to devolve more control over tax to the governments in Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, we will also be extending the principle of English consent to financial matters affecting England.

This means the introduction of an English rate of taxation, subject to the democratic approval of the representatives of English people.

Labour have announced they are opposed to England’s future being decided by England’s democratic representatives, and Ed Miliband says he’s not in favour. They haven’t learned their lesson on the economy either.

The respected and independent Institute of Fiscal Studies has looked into Labour’s plans and their research confirms that “debt would be about £90 billion more” if these plans are implemented. This would mean more borrowing, more wasteful spending, and burdening our young people with the increasing bill for Labour’s mistakes.

In contrast, we Conservatives want to take the tough decisions today to give our young people and future generations more opportunities. That’s why our plans call for over 270,000 apprenticeships for the East Midlands, giving people the real skills they need to work and thrive in a growing economy.

The figures speak for themselves. British car output, for example, grew in March as productivity in the automobile industry hit a record high. Rolls-Royce has won an order from Emirates airline worth £6.1 billion, its largest order ever.

This is welcome news for the 21,300 people they employ directly in the UK as well as the over 100,000 jobs they support through their supply chains and employee spending.

The International Monetary Fund has forecast that Britain will be one of the fastest growing major economies in the world in 2015 and 2016.

Businesses have created nearly 2.3 million new jobs since David Cameron became Prime Minister, and 60 per cent of the increase in private sector employment has been outside London.

After all, we don’t want to see Lincolnshire lag while London thrives: that’s why George Osborne is working to ensure all of England shares in the slowly and steadily growing prosperity.

We simply can’t afford to go back to the high-borrowing, high-spending years of Labour. For our families, for our jobs, and for our future, it’s imperative that the voters get to polling places and return a Conservative majority to Parliament on May 7th.

Edward Leigh

MP for Gainsborough