The Conservative leadership contest is underway and no matter who comes out the victor it’s clear that the absolute priority of any new Prime Minister must be delivering Brexit as soon as possible, writes Sir Edward Leigh.
Certainly, Britain must not leave the EU any later than October 31 – deal or no deal.
Failing to respect the result of the referendum will lead only to disillusionment, decline, and disenchantment.
In contrast, leaving the EU will ensure that future generations of this country will be freer, more in charge of their destiny, and enjoying the fruits of their labours.
‘Despite Brexit’ as we have become so used to saying, the country has the lowest unemployment in decades, with more people at work than ever before.
By keeping taxes low – perhaps lowering them even further – the Government will allow workers to keep more of their own income.
Business is going strong and there is more investment coming into the country from overseas.
But, as always, we must remember the sacrifices made by those who came before us.
Our ancestors and predecessors overcame enormous obstacles to secure the freedom of the United Kingdom.
The recent anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy gave us ample opportunity to reflect on the heroic sacrifice of everyday people in the struggle against Nazi Germany and the Axis powers.
Closer to home, at Great Limber here in West Lindsey, a new monument was dedicated to Private Samuel Needham, who was awarded the Victoria Cross during World War I.
Samuel was born in Great Limber but both his parents, Septimus and Mary, had died by the time the Great War broke out in 1914.
He was 28 years old and living with his sister in Hull and ended up in the Bedfordshire Regiment when they were deployed to Palestine in the Middle East.
British troops there were fighting against the Ottoman forces, and one evening Private Needham’s front-line patrol faced an unexpected contact with the enemy.
In severe danger of being overwhelmed, he bravely counterattacked, putting himself in the line of fire and attacking the Ottomans at point blank range
This put the enemy on the back foot and allowed his commander to regroup his forces so that the patrol wasn’t cut off.
Private Needham was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery.
The official citation said his example ‘was of the greatest value at a critical moment, and the bold and determined stand made by him did more than anything to inspire confidence, and undoubtedly save a critical situation’.
Samuel survived nearly to the end of the war before dying from an accidental gunshot.
While he was buried in Palestine, I’m deeply pleased that, through this new memorial stone in Great Limber, his memory is continued here in Lincolnshire.
We must never forget the brave sacrifices made by those who’ve come before us, and their example should give us the confidence to attack and overcome the challenges we face now.