'Absolute giant' - tributes as former leader stands down from Lincolnshire Council

Councillors and colleagues have paid tribute to former Lincolnshire Council leader Rob Parker who has confirmed his retirement from politics.
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Mr Parker has had a distinguished political career, having served as Lincolnshire Council leader from 1993-97, as well as leader of the Labour group on the authority from 1991-2013 and again from 2017-23.

The Lincoln Labour Party announced the news about Mr Parker, who has represented Carholme division for more than 35 years, “with great sadness” on Twitter.

A statement said: “Rob has been a stalwart of the Labour movement in Lincolnshire for decades, his time as leader of the council in the mid-90s changed Lincoln forever.

Rob Parker, a former leader of Lincolnshire Council, has quit politics. (Photo by: Calvin Robinson)Rob Parker, a former leader of Lincolnshire Council, has quit politics. (Photo by: Calvin Robinson)
Rob Parker, a former leader of Lincolnshire Council, has quit politics. (Photo by: Calvin Robinson)

“He played such a vital role in bringing the university to our city, which has revolutionised life in the city and its economy.

“In the years since, he has effectively opposed the Conservatives as the leader of the opposition. In that role he has held the ruling Tory group to account, highlighting their cruel and divisive policies and offering ambitious, compassionate and costed alternative budgets.

“And yet, his main concern and priority, rightfully, has always been to the residents of his division. Rob’s methodical approach, commitment and integrity are qualities all politicians should aspire to. We are sad to see him retire.”

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His colleagues and friends have paid tribute to his unwavering service.

Coun Biff Bean said: “The people of Lincolnshire always came first in whatever Rob did. Thank you for your exemplary service, mate.”

Former Lincoln MP Karen Lee, who will be taking over as leader of the group on the council, expressed her respect and admiration for Parker, calling him an “absolute giant of the Labour movement”.

She said: “Throughout my years as a councillor, he’s given me so much friendship and support.”

Coun Martin Hill, Conservative council leader, said: “I’ve worked alongside Mr Parker on the council for more than 30 years and despite being with different political parties, I’ve always had a positive working relationship with him.

“Rob has previously held the post of leader back in the 1990s and since then, has continued to play a prominent role in the business of the council. On behalf of all at the council, we wish him well for the future.”