Market Rasen MP condemns unilateral unitary approach

Sir Edward Leigh in the House of Commons EMN-160915-143531001
Sir Edward Leigh in the House of Commons EMN-160915-143531001

Market Rasen’s MP Sir Edward Leigh has condemned unilateral plans to abolish Lincolnshire’s district council’s, including West Lindsey.

The MP for the Gainsborough constituency has reacted to decisive proposals from Lincolnshire County Council’s leadership that a referendum should be held on moving to unitary authority status.

Sir Edward said: “Any change in how Lincolnshire is governed, at a local level, must proceed only with the consent of all local authorities.

“No one wants a bruising battle to the end of this decade, and perhaps beyond, between the district and county councils about which should be abolished.

“If this is to proceed it must be with the agreement of the county and all the district councils, not a hurried proposal from one authority.”

Sir Edward was responding to comments by Conservative Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Coun Martin Hill, who has proposed that a referendum be held to seek the views of residents at the same time as the County local elections in early May.

Sir Edward continued: “The county council covers a very large amount of territory which can often mean that the decisions it takes in the city can feel remote. The district councils are much closer to the residents they represent and can be more effective in doing so.

“It would be quite wrong for the County Council to hold a plebiscite, as a way to secure the Secretary of State’s agreement, to a plan that may not have the support of the districts.”