Grimsby

Councillor selected to lead North East Lincolnshire opposition

Labour Councillor Matthew Patrick, the former cabinet member for environment, transport and energy at North East Lincolnshire Council, has been appointed as the leader of the opposition.

It is understood the Heneage ward councillor’s position will be confirmed at the Annual General Meeting of the authority on Tuesday, May 21.

It is also understood a statement will be released soon.

The move follows Labour’s loss of three seats and overall control at North East Lincolnshire following the May 2 local elections.

The Conservatives gained five seats on the council while the Liberal Democrats took four.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s labour cabinet at the meeting which saw them forge ahead with plans for Toll Bar Roundabout.

The former leader of the party Ray Oxby, stepped down as a councillor in March and his seat was swallowed by UKIP.

Speaking following the results last week, Councillor Patrick said he had been “devastated” by the result and claimed that to a certain extent the party were a victim of the Brexit debate.

However, he admitted the party needed to begin rebuilding trust and confidence by addressing concerns over public perception.

In his former role, Councillor Patrick oversaw the decision to go forward with £2.2 million plans for the Toll Bar Roundabout which would have seen it replaced by traffic lights.

Former Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Ray Oxby. Picture: Daniel Jaines.

However, those plans were halted by the leader of the Conservatives at North East Lincolnshire Council, Councillor Philip Jackson, the day after last week’s election.

Responding to Councillor Jackson’s decision, Councillor Patrick said it had been their pledge during the campaign and was “now something they needed to deliver”.

“I congratulate the Conservatives on their victory, but it’s for them now to lead on this matter. They made a clear pledge that they wanted to reverse the decision and now they have to deliver that,” he said.

The results of last week’s election leave the political make-up of the party as:

  • Conservatives – 23
  • Labour – 14
  • Liberal Democrats – 4
  • UKIP – 1

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