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‘Vanilla’ motion of thanks to staff at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn turns into debate between West Norfolk councillor

A “vanilla” motion of thanks to hospital workers turned into a feisty debate over wording between councillors.

At Thursday’s full West Norfolk Council meeting, Conservative leader Stuart Dark proposed a message to the groups instrumental in ensuring a bid to rebuild Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital was successful.

He drew attention to the “many many months” of hard work that leadership staff at the hospital put into campaigning, saying that praise for them should be “beyond politics”, and also praised both of our MPs.

Cllr Jo Rust was one councillor involved in a debate over Cllr Stuart Dark’s motion of thanks
Cllr Jo Rust was one councillor involved in a debate over Cllr Stuart Dark’s motion of thanks

While borough council leader Terry Parish verbally supported the motion, others argued that amendments should be made before it was passed.

Cllr Pallavi Devulapalli suggested that Cllr Dark’s use of the word “expedited” was not required as it suggested that the projectr had been brought forward from a later date.

“I would argue that actually, 2030 is the date at which that building is close to actually falling down and crushing the people – if anyone is foolish enough to stand under it,” she said.

Cllr Devulapalli also voiced her belief that the Lynn and District Trades Union Council should be mentioned prominently in any official thanks to those who contributed to campaigns.

Cllr Dark did not accept any amendments, and an official vote to have them made failed. His original motion was successfully voted through.

He said: “I have said the purpose of this was, by putting something fairly vanilla, that we could all get behind and celebrate the success.

“I think it is unfortunate that in this meeting, some people just can’t bring themselves to actually thank everybody in their comments – and that will reflect on them, and perhaps not us.”

Cllr Jo Rust, who spearheaded weekly campaigns outside the hospital alongside the Save the QEH group, had also voiced her opinion that changes should have been made to Cllr Dark’s motion.

She said: “I appreciate the work that the new MP (James Wild) did, but… that is what he is paid for.

“He did his job that he is paid handsomely to do, and while I thank him for that, I believe that had it not been for the Trades Council pressuring him about it, he might have taken his foot off the pedal.”

Cllr Alexandra Kemp had also supported removing the word “expedited” from the motion, but Cllr Parish said: “I have got sympathy with Cllr Dark here, because he has presented what is essentially a clean motion which is thanking everybody for doing their best to bring the hospital funding forward.”

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