North East Lincolnshire council leader Ray Oxby blames verbal abuse as he resigns with immediate effect

A council leader has blamed pressures on his health and verbal abuse relating to a controversial roundabout plan as he announced he was quitting with immediate effect.

Ray Oxby, leader of North East Lincolnshire Council

Ray Oxby released a statement today saying he was resigning from his position as Leader of North East Lincolnshire Council, councillor for Grimsby’s South Ward and as a member of the Labour Party.

He had served as a councillor since 2012 after retiring from a civil servant position in the authority three years earlier.

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Labour entered a ‘confidence and supply agreement’ with the Lib Dems following the last election as Labour only had a majority of one.

Mr Oxby said he had faced challenges to his health as a result of the pressures of his job, arising "from the difficult decisions the council has been forced to take due to cuts by central government on local government funding".

He said: “More recently, however, the pressures have been significantly exacerbated by the verbal abuse I have received personally and via social media. This abuse has gone beyond fair political comment.

“My vehicle has been vandalised, and unpleasant (an understatement) contents have been pushed through my letterbox.

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

“In addition, our family has been blessed in the past few years with three beautiful grandchildren and I am determined to ensure that my health is robust enough for my wife and I to help nurture their development and enjoy their growing up."

Last November the council decided to replace Grimsby's Toll Bar roundabout with traffic lights in a move which prompted strong opposition.

In his statement, Mr Oxby said: “It has been a privilege to serve the Council and the communities of the South Ward and I hope that, in my small way, I have given benefit and service to this area.

“I have always acted with the interests of the people of this area at heart.

“I am particularly proud of my work on the 'Town Deal' and the plethora of pioneering regeneration activities. I believe the area can face whatever the future may bring with confidence.

“I wish the council and the area - which I am proud to call my home - all the very best for the future.”