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13.03.19

Unitary council leader resigns over abuse ‘beyond what any reasonable person should have to endure’

The leader of a unitary authority has announced he is resigning with immediate effect, blaming abuse he has received from campaigners and “health challenges.”

The leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, Ray Oxby, has revealed he is quitting the council, his post as councillor for Grimsby’s South Ward, and the Labour Party.

Oxby released a statement stating his decision was in part caused by the abuse he had received personally and on social media stemming from the council’s decision on the Toll Bar roundabout.

He said the decision was also made due to “health challenges” he has faced for a considerable amount of time brought on by the pressures of being leader of the council.

“These pressures have arisen from the difficult decisions the council has been forced to take due to cuts by central government on local government funding.”

More recently, Oxby said, the pressures have been exacerbated by the verbal abuse he had suffered which “has gone beyond fair political comment.”

He said: “My vehicle has been vandalised, and unpleasant contents have been pushed through my letter box.

“Much of this has been linked to the decision on Toll Bar roundabout and has gone beyond what any reasonable person should endure.”

Oxby said it has been a privilege to serve the council and communities of the South Ward, and added he had always acted “with the interests of the people of this area at heart.”

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sad news. Ray has always a decent hard working councillor and leader. <a href="https://t.co/oEUaJ6PlNO">https://t.co/oEUaJ6PlNO</a></p>&mdash; Henri Murison (@henrimurison) <a href="https://twitter.com/henrimurison/status/1105126310165336065?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 11, 2019</a></blockquote>

<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Last November, North East Lincolnshire Council approved plans to replace Grimsby’s Toll Bar roundabout with traffic lights which sparked strong opposition and protests and calls from some for Oxby to resign.

Chair of an action group against the decision Roger Breed said at the time that the council has “virtually declared war on the public” and people of New Waltham, and expressed concerns over the safety of children and residents.

Oxby also said he wanted to ensure his health was robust enough to help nurture his three grandchildren and wished the authority “all the very best for the future.”

He retired from a civil servant position in 2009 and has served as a councillor since 2012.

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