MP’s Column - Major turbine farm victory

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We have had a major victory in the fight against the proposed wind farm at Kingerby.

The Planning Inspectorate informed me that Communities & Local Government minister Eric Pickles will determine the outcome of this appeal, rather than a planning inspector.

This is a very good news as I believe we have a much stronger chance of stopping the Kingerby wind farm proposal for good with Eric Pickles making the decision.

This is the result of a long effort. I lobbied hard that the Secretary of State make the decision and not the Inspectorate, so I hope progress will be made in burying this proposal as well as other ones around Lincolnshire.

Two weeks ago the Queen came to Parliament to give her speech announcing the Government’s plans for the year.

The debate on the Speech allows MPs an opportunity to discuss the legislative year ahead and what different emphasis we might put on it ourselves. It’s clear the economy must be the Government’s number one priority.

At the moment, two million extra jobs have been created in the private sector to the benefit of ordinary people, thanks to the economic focus of this Government. Regarding waste in government spending, it is a matter of regret that we are still spending more than ever before, even more under Labour.

This highlights the key challenge that both Labour and Conservative parties face: we have to keep addressing the deficit.

Yet, the Labour Opposition does not have a coherent economic message since they refused to agree to our spending plans, contrary to what they did before 1997.

We should also make a commitment to a much flatter tax system that will benefit ordinary working people, and remove an in-built advantage for large businesses over small and medium-sized enterprises.

The evidence shows that higher taxes discourage work and investment, which then affects the overall national wealth.

Over the past two years, for example, France has increased its taxes. As a result, the Government has actually collected less money and has been counter-productive in its budget plans.

Immigration is another major issue which calls for firmness and clarity. We must take decisive action.

We cannot accept an untrammelled right of immigration from poorly performing economies into our own, especially when economies diverge so greatly, as happens between Bulgaria and Romania and ourselves. European Union rules on this must be reformed.

We still face enormous challenges, but it is very difficult to get to grips with some of these challenges while we are still shackled by the constraints of coalition. On immigration for instance,

I should like to see more forceful legislation put in place, but this would certainly be blocked by our coalition partners.

The referendum bill is another example. We Conservatives want to have an in/out referendum on the EU, but we can’t currently pass it because Liberals are blocking it.

The most certain route to a referendum on the European Union is to secure a Conservative majority at the next general election.

Sir Edward Leigh

MP for Gainsborough