Veteran Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh will this year face his eighth general election campaign.
Gainsborough Conservatives plan a ‘short’ campaign for the May 7 poll, a campaign they say will be ‘positive.’
Though UKIP are expected to be a bigger influence this time round, Sir Edward says the ‘big difference’ for 2015 is the fixed term parliament means knowing polling day well in advance, giving parties time to plan for the campaign and ensuring voters are registered to vote.
“The most important thing for me is making sure that people get the help they need. The thank you letters I get from my constituents letting me know that my intervention has helped their life are incredibly humbling. All too often we get bogged down in a system when we feel like we’re just cogs in a machine, and those moments when you realise you’ve managed to turn something around for someone are deeply meaningful. A life changed for the better is the greatest achievement.”
The 64-year-old has been siding with constituents on issues like wind farms and the Central Lincolnshire District Plan, which has sometimes meant the MP clashing with his party locally as well as nationally.
“We’re fighting for Lincolnshire. I’m working with other rural MPs to get better funding for rural authorities to address their particular problems. We’re also fighting a number of threats on the planning front. It’s been clear that planning decisions should be made locally and should reflect the views of those who’ll be most deeply affected by it. I fought against a whole series of wind farm proposals, some of which are ongoing, and there are also dangerous housing proposals we need to keep on top of. Over-development is a huge threat to many of our villages. Bad decisions today will have repercussions over the next century, so we need to make sure planners think wisely and, most importantly, asking locals what they think.”
There will also be THAT issue of Europe.
“Like anyone, the Prime Minister isn’t perfect but he has committed the Conservative Party to a path much more Eurosceptic than the Liberals or Labour. Voters are wise with their votes and come a General Election they want to back a winner that reflects their own views. If you want an in/out referendum on the EU, then voting Conservative is the only way to bring it about. I can’t emphasise that enough. Labour and the Liberals are afraid of it and UKIP cannot deliver it,” the MP added.“Fundamentally, this is about democracy. Vast swathes of the British people are too young to have voted in the 1975 Referendum and it’s time they had their say.”