MP’s column: Many challenges but Brexit a priority......

Sir Edward Leigh MP
Sir Edward Leigh MP

A new year is upon us with the many challenges and opportunities which it brings.

Our absolute first priority in Parliament is to get Brexit done by 31 January 2020.

The voters have entrusted Boris Johnson with a firm majority and I am personally humbled that the people of our part of Lincolnshire have continued to entrust me with representing them at Westminster.

While there will be a great deal of attention paid to Brexit, Europe, and national or global issues, there is still much to be done here in Lincolnshire.

I use the NHS exclusively for my family, so putting our health provision on a solid footing is a vital task for the government. We need to free doctors and nurses from bureaucratic interference and make sure spending goes to front-line services, not administration and form-filling.

In education, the Government have committed to the biggest funding boost in a decade. Our schools in Lincolnshire should receive £4,688 per head from this – a 5.72% increase.

We also need to ensure our police are better resourced. A big county like Lincolnshire faces particular challenges, and I have met with ministers to put the case for more funding for our local force.

Flooding near Holton le Moor has been a real problem and despite the Christmas break I’ve spoken with Network Rail officials at the highest levels to ensure that this problem is solved permanently. They need to do more to keep local stakeholders involved like the many families who need to get their children to school past this point and the Hope Tavern, an important local business.

I’ve also been active over the issue of flooding in Scotter and around Short Ferry, visiting several times and liaising with local farmers and the Environment Agency.

I will continue my campaign for a Lincolnshire Rivers Authority to put in the care needed to maintain dykes and banks, where the EA has, alas, fallen short.

I’m continuing to keep a close eye on RAF Scampton and its future. With local campaigner Annette Edgar I’ve obtained a commitment from the Ministry of Defence to release the Land Quality Assessment for the base so the public are fully informed of its current state.

It’d be best to keep RAF Scampton open, but if the base is to shut then we must learn the lessons of the recent past when decommissioned bases have been too hastily disposed of without regard for the needs and benefit of the surrounding communities.

A tall order for the new year, but we have got to work already.

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Gainsborough Constituency