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Deputy City Mayor to resign to join European Parliament

Published on 02 October 2017

DEPUTY City Mayor of Leicester Cllr Rory Palmer will be resigning from his post today as he prepares to represent the East Midlands as Labour member of the European Parliament.

He will also be stepping down from his role as councillor for Eyres Monsell – the ward he has represented since being elected in 2007.

Rory was Leicester’s first deputy city mayor, having been appointed by Peter Soulsby when he became the first directly elected executive mayor of Leicester in 2011.

Currently responsible for adult social care and public health, Rory oversaw the successful transfer of public health services from the NHS back to local government in 2013. He is chair of the city’s health and wellbeing board, and has led the city council’s opposition to the proposed closure of Glenfield Children’s heart unit.

Cllr Palmer has worked with partners to give mental health and wellbeing a much higher profile, and led on work to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health. This includes the recently launched Time to Change campaign, which encourages people to talk more openly about issues affecting them.

He also pushed forward the council’s Healthy Teeth, Happy Smiles oral health programme, which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in tooth decay in city children since its introduction in 2014.

As the lead on adult social care he has pushed for improvements in dementia care and launched a successful scheme to train 500 council staff to become ‘dementia friends’. He also set up the Dementia Action Alliance which has brought together a range of organisations to look at how infrastructure and people’s action can be changed to make life easier for those with the condition.

During his six years as deputy city mayor, Rory has worked on the City Mayor’s Economic Action Plan, which has resulted in major new investment and job creation in the city. He has overseen the implementation of the Living Wage for city council staff, and developed the Leicester to Work programme to tackle youth unemployment.

Cllr Palmer said: “I will always be grateful to the residents of Eyres Monsell who first elected me as one of their councillors in 2007. It is an area full of friendly, warm and good people, and I have enjoyed immensely the opportunity to work with local residents over these ten years.

“I have always tried to do my best for the ward and the city; whether that’s been driving through major projects like the Exchange development in Eyres Monsell, or developing the Leicester to Work programme which has helped hundreds of young people to get apprenticeships, jobs and training right across the city.

“I would like to be leaving local government in better times, as there is no doubt that massive government cuts being aggressively targeted at us are bringing a huge storm that councils will have to weather.

“However, I am confident that under the strong leadership of city mayor Peter Soulsby, his executive team and councillors, the city council will continue to fight for the best interests of the people of Leicester.”

City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Rory has played a vital part in shaping the city mayor role in Leicester. His passion for social justice, quality services and sound decision making has been invaluable to me, and he will be missed, not just by me, but by the council and the city.

“I’m sure he will be a very effective MEP, speaking out for the city and region through the difficult days of Brexit.”