August 31, 2022 12.30 pm This story is over 22 months old

West Lindsey councillor steps back from frontline politics over health issues

Councillor does not want to burden his colleagues.

A West Lindsey councillor has confirmed he is stepping back from frontline politics due to health issues.

Conservative Councillor Steve England, ward member for Dunholme and Welton, suffered complications related to his heart in January, and had to be treated by the NHS.

Due to his condition, where he currently finds himself getting very tired and spending much of his time resting, he has now confirmed he has resigned completely off all the outside bodies he was on, the committees he was on, the administration group and the Conservative group.

He told Local Democracy Reporters: “It’s a case that I find myself with quite serious health issue and I don’t want to be told I have to be somewhere or doing something and not being able to.

“I can’t see me going on much longer after the end of this year.

“This is just stepping back fully before I step away completely. It’s nothing to do with politics, I’ve not fallen out with anybody.”

He thanked his constituents for voting him onto the council in 2015 and again in 2019 and 2021.

Councillor England served the authority as chairman of the council for three whole years, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m very grateful and honoured and touched for the opportunity they gave me,” he said.

“I enjoyed every moment of it.”

Chairman of West Lindsey Steve England with Damien Blackburn Director of IT, showing a 3D camera for online learning. | Photo: John Aron for The Lincolnite

He said repeated absences caused by his health problems were “very unfair” on the administration group who were forced to find alternatives for him.

However, he won’t be resigning from the council until at least November 6 because, he said, he did not want to force the authority, or his party, into an expensive by-election when the district is due to hold votes next year anyway.

Instead, he will serve out the remainder of his time on the council as an “Independent unaligned” member.

“I know if I went now it would cause them a great deal of aggravation.

“It would also cause the Conservatives a lot of money they don’t have since the unfortunate business with Giles McNeill [the party’s former leader found guilty of fraud offences].”

Councillor England said his party had a “great guy” ready to step into his shoes called Tom Smith.

“He’s a brilliant lad,” he said.

They have got a great guy planned to step into my shoes called Tom Smith. A brilliant lad.

Councillor England said his experience with his heart had forced him to re-evaluate his own life.

“Lying on the kitchen floor in January, not the greatest of places to lay, and wondering what the devil was happening to you, seeing all the blue lights is very comforting.

“It makes you re-evaluate things… and when you’re walking around with four bits of metal in your heart it makes you think there’s more important things in life.”

He praised the NHS staff who had treated him both in Lincoln hospital and at his GP in Welton, saying they had been “absolutely fantastic” and adding: “I’m eternally grateful to them, they have been brilliant.”

He is now looking forward to Christmas when his daughter, who lives in America, is planning to come and see him with her family, including his grandson who studies astrophysics at an Ivy League university on Rhode Island. Councillor England also has a son and daughter-in-law who live in Australia.

“That’s all I’m thinking about for now… nothing else seems important,” he said.

Conservative council leader Owen Brierley was asked for comment in regards to Councillor England’s decision, however, a spokesperson for WLDC said he “would like to politely decline to comment as he does not think it’s appropriate to comment on the health concerns of an individual councillor”.