I am delighted to work with other political groups on local issues, says Grantham councillor
I don’t think anybody could accuse me of not rigorously opposing the Conservatives, both locally and regarding their national policies, says Councillor Lee Steptoe, Labour Group leader on South Kesteven District Council.
However, it is important to work with people with whom you usually disagree when the opportunity arises, as normal life is all about compromise. Politics, at all levels, should be no different.
Recently I have been delighted to work cross-party with the Conservatives on the establishment of a Grantham Town Council, whilst being bitterly disappointed at their failure to do the same regarding the closure of A&E at Grantham hospital.
As I explained in the council chamber, I am absolutely invested in both issues as a born and bred Granthamian. I care deeply about our town, as many of my political opponents do.
I am delighted that we will almost certainly have a town council, following inaugural elections, probably in May 2024. I thank the Conservative Grantham councillors for listening to my pleas for equity with just about every other small town in the country, including Bourne and Stamford locally. There is still work to be done before this is signed off, not least consultations with surrounding parishes such as Barrowby, Gonerby, Harlaxton, etc, to make sure that their autonomy is absolutely respected, whilst bearing in mind that Grantham is growing and will continue to do so under the local plan. But I have been delighted to be part of a progressive consensus on this issue.
I was far less impressed when at the recent extraordinary meeting of SKDC, (which was shockingly badly attended,) the ruling Conservatives moved an amendment to Councillor Morgan’s motion, which had clearly called for Council to continue to support a 24/7 A&E. The amendment, clearly co-ordinated by the Tories beforehand, watered this right down, expressing ‘deep regret’ at its closure, whilst not actively opposing, and welcoming its imminent replacement with an Urgent Treatment Centre, which as I have warned previously is nothing more than a glorified GP surgery.
Make no mistake, people will die in the back of ambulances, on the way to Lincoln and Boston. I salute the hardy folk that have campaigned so hard to prevent this vital service being taken from our rapidly growing town and local area. After saying my piece, I walked out of the meeting due to a combination of deep sadness and disgust.
I will always speak out on what I find plain wrong. More should try it.