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Tributes paid to former Lincolnshire County Council leader





Former county council leader Rob Parker has died, sparking tributes from councillors and colleagues.

Coun Parker reportedly passed away on Monday at the age of 76.

The Lincoln-based Labour Party stalwart had stepped down from council life in August following a period of ill health.

Coun Rob Parker
Coun Rob Parker

Coun Parker had a distinguished political career, representing Lincoln’s Carholme division for more than 35 years.

He served as the leader of Lincolnshire County Council between 1993 and 1997.

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He was also the leader of the Labour opposition group on the council twice, from 1991 to 2013 and from 2017 until this year.

Lincolnshire County Council leader Coun Martin Hill said his former opposition leader was a ‘hugely respected and long-serving Labour councillor’.

“On behalf of all at the county council, we offer our deepest condolences to Rob’s wife, Sue, and to all his family and close friends at this sad time,” he said.

“I’ve worked alongside Coun Parker on the county council for over 30 years and, despite being in different political parties, I’ve always had a positive working relationship with him.”

Coun Parker served as chair of the council’s Scrutiny Management Board from May 2017 until his resignation due to ill health in the summer.

“Indeed, his impressive work in scrutiny led to a deserved Scrutineer of the Year award from the Local Government Information Unit in 2011,” said Coun Hill.

“He always had the best interests of the council and the constituents he represented at the heart of everything he did. He will be sorely missed.”

Labour colleagues also paid tribute to the former leader and his unwavering service.

City of Lincoln Council leader Ric Metcalfe said it was a ‘sad day’.

“Rob was a thoroughly nice man, full of compassion for other people, and a real champion of social justice,” he said.

“He was always very reasonable and rational in his approach to political differences and a real Labour Party activist and stalwart for many years. He was a very popular ward councillor.

He said Coun Parker was an ‘outstanding leader, battling through a difficult situation’ against a Conservative-dominated council.

He said the former leader had ‘an awful lot to show’ for his work, including getting the university established, huge investments in social care, and developments in nursery school education.

“He and I were political colleagues at the university and he was an outstanding academic, much-loved by his students.

“When you think about Rob in the round, one might say he was a true Renaissance man.”

Former Lincoln MP Karen Lee, who had worked personally and professionally with Coun Parker for 25 years and for whom he was an electoral agent in the 2010 local elections, said: “We were friends, we were a strong Carholme team for many years and that continues, but he’ll be so missed on a personal basis, never mind politically.

“We were a close-knit team, looking after Carholme; we lived in each other’s pockets a lot of the time.

“His contribution to the Labour movement was huge and, locally, as a ward and division councillor, he was a really good councillor.

“My thoughts are with Sue and his family; he’ll be hugely missed.”

Coun Calum Watt, secretary of Lincoln Constituency Labour Party, said: “Rob was a hugely significant figure in Lincoln’s history, in Lincolnshire’s history, and, of course, for the Labour movement as well.

“He was absolutely instrumental in many things, including bringing the University to Lincoln, which had such a positive social and economic impact on the city.

“He was a fierce advocate for his community as well as a councillor for Carholme for so many years. And I think, in all honesty, I and all of my colleagues are going to greatly miss him.”

City of Lincoln Mayor Coun Biff Bean said: “It’s a sad day for the people of Lincoln, Lincolnshire and the Lincoln Labour Party.

“Rob was one of the most hard-working, diligent councillors you could ever meet and my heart goes out to his family and friends.”



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