Market Rasen’s MP Sir Edward Leigh has been appointed to the prestigious Queen’s Privy Council, it has been announced.
The stalwart Conservative, who has served the area for decades, says he has been left ‘humbled’ by the appointment.
The Privy Council is a formal body of advisers to the Queen and is made up of mainly senior politicians.
Sir Edward said: “It has been very humbling to learn that Her Majesty the Queen has appointed me to her Privy Council.
“This body is still fundamental to the working of the British government and while not in the spotlights or the headlines, is central to our unwritten constitution.
“This honour is tied to the work that I have done with the National Audit Office and the Comtroller & Auditor General after several years serving as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and now of the Public Accounts Commission.
“I thank all the hard-working staff at the NAO for their efforts ensuring we have one of the best public audit bodies in the world.
“Most of all I must thank the constituents and voters who have continued to trust me to represent them in Parliament.
“Without the support of the voters, all of this would be impossible.
“This appointment is especially poignant for me because my late father served as Clerk of the Privy Council from 1974 until 1984.
“I don’t yet know when I will be able to take the oath and assume my place as a “Rt Hon”, but when I do I will be thinking of him.”
Sir Edward was appointed to the Privy Council along with two other Conservative MPs - former health minister Philip Dunne and head of the UK delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Sir Roger Gale.
Following the announcement, the national press reported that Prime Minister Theresa May had been accused of a ‘shameless use of patronage’ over the decision of who to appoint to the Privy Council.
The national media said Labour MP Virendra Sharma claimed the appointments were part of a “desperate” attempt by the Government to shore up support for the Prime Minister’s EU Withdrawal Agreement ahead of next week’s crucial vote in the Commons.
Eurosceptic Sir Edward has been an outspoken critic of Mrs May’s deal, and tabled an amendment calling for the termination of the agreement if the EU refuses to remove a “backstop” arrangement for the Irish border by the end of 2021.
But Ludlow MP Mr Dunne and North Thanet MP Sir Roger have both said they will support Mrs May’s deal.