Outrage as MP claims Lincolnshire’s already ‘done its bit in terms of migration’ in Commons debate on Ukrainian refugees

Residents in Lincolnshire are branding a local MP’s comments about Lincolnshire being too full to accept Ukrainian refugees as ‘awful’ and ‘heartless’
Lincolnshire MP Sir Edward LeighLincolnshire MP Sir Edward Leigh
Lincolnshire MP Sir Edward Leigh

Tory MP for Gainsborough Sir Edward Leigh made the remarks in the House of Commons yesterday, where he praised Defence Secretary Priti Patel for her refusal to offer asylum to all Ukrainian refugees.

Sir Edward Leigh said: “I think we have to remember that, unlike the rest of Europe, we have uniquely liberal labour laws and we speak English, so we are the country of choice for mass immigration.

“And therefore I do urge her to, as well as listen to all the humanitarian voices, to listen to the voices of people in Lincolnshire, who feel we’ve done our bit in terms of migration from eastern Europe.

“We’re under extreme pressure in terms of housing and jobs.”

Ignoring jeers from other members, including fellow tories, he carried on: “I know this is difficult to say, but we have to be honest about this.

“And therefore may I be a correcting voice on this and congratulate her on her humanitarian but proportionate response and not throwing away the immigration rulebook.”

His comments have been widely criticised on social media, with many from the county - including fellow Lincolnshire councillors - stating he does not speak for them.

The remarks even caught the attention of entrepreneur Deborah Meadeon, from TV’s Dragons’ Den - who retweeted footage of his Commons speech asking ‘does he speak for you Lincolnshire?’

Writing on the Boston Standard’s Facebook page, Ken Syrett commented: “I am to polite to say on here what I think this man. Ashamed that he is an MP for Lincolnshire.”

Jason Brown wrote: “It may have done its bit for the European community - but how the hell does that relate to a war torn country? Get real, bombs are dropping - sort the attitude out!”

Reader Bryan King remarked: “The man’s a moron” - while Gillain Fountain added: “He is very wrong, these people need a safe place.”