MP’s Column: Voters decide our future

As someone who was surprised enough to receive an honour from the Queen last year, I was very glad to see a constituent of mine rewarded for her efforts in the New Year honours list.

Mrs Bryony Simpson of Market Rasen has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to speech and language.

In addition to being deputy medical director and speech and language therapist at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, Mrs Simpson serves as chair of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. I have volunteered with disabled people and know how rewarding but also how difficult it is. I’m sure readers will join me in congratulating Bryony Simpson on her well-deserved honour.

Lincolnshire Police have stepped up their continued efforts to make sure our county is a safe and secure one. For the most recent statistics available, crime continued to fall in West Lindsey, to 9.81 recorded crimes per 1,000 people in June of last year from a rate of 10.06 at the end of the previous year. This continues the decline from a crime rate of 13.54 at the end of 2011.

What’s all the more surprising is that Lincolnshire Police manage to do such good work on such a straitened budget. Belts are being tightened across all government departments – with the noticeable exception of Health – and unfortunately policing has had to find greater efficiencies as well.

But while crime overall is falling in our part of Lincolnshire, the nature of the crimes committed is become more and more complex.

I recently wrote to the Home Secretary arguing that crime in our county is becoming more sophisticated, and that this requires additional understanding, time, and staffing, as well as the application of strategic methodologies.

I have asked the Home Secretary for more funding from central government to help Lincolnshire Police continue the high standard of work they do, and to help them address the challenges they are facing.

The Chief Constable, Neil Rhodes, has assured me he will have plenty to talk about with the Policing Minister, Mike Penning MP, on his upcoming visit to Lincolnshire.

Here in Westminster, Members of Parliament are already distracted by the coming General Election, even though it’s many months away.

In the former system, election campaigns were much shorter as the precise date was unknown.

But a shorter term of parliament itself is more efficient as well. Five years is simply too long: the Government has few bills left to put through the Commons.

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act is not part of our tradition of parliamentary democracy in this country, and I know that a growing number of my colleagues here in Parliament are seeking to ensure the Act is repealed to allow shorter terms of government.

When you reach a situation like today when the Government has so little legislation to put through, it’s time to go back to the voters and let them decide the future of the country.

Sir Edward Leigh

MP for Gainsborough