Young Northamptonshire libraries campaigner grills MP at Westminster

Campaigners who went to lobby Westminster, including Elliott and his dad Nick, with Beth Miller NNL-180928-144458005
Campaigners who went to lobby Westminster, including Elliott and his dad Nick, with Beth Miller NNL-180928-144458005

A young campaigner has taken his protest against cuts to libraries across Northamptonshire to the House of Commons.

Ten-year old Elliott Cartwright with his dad Nick were guests of Beth Miller, Labour Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Corby and East Northants, who headed up the Westminster lobby to highlight the crisis facing Northamptonshire County Council.

Elliott was given an opportunity to quiz Tom Pursglove, the current MP for the constituency, about the Conservative-controlled county council’s decision to axe services including the youngster’s beloved library in Thrapston.

Elliott said: “I was told about the plan to close Thrapston library at school and was very upset.  I made a petition and collected signatures, I got 100 signatures which is nearly everyone at my school. I presented the petition to Northamptonshire County Council and made a speech telling them why our library is important. 

“Now I’ve also been to Parliament to tell my MP why libraries are important.”

Beth, who has been calling for action by the county’s seven Conservative MPs to help people and communities affected by the cuts, said: “Elliott held no punches when it came to telling Tom Pursglove just what effects the decisions taken by fellow Conservatives will have on the lives of him and his friends and family.

“It is all very well telling voters you are listening, but we want action. The visit to Westminster was an opportunity to highlight the devastating effects these current policies will have on the lives of constituents.”

Dad Nick added: “We couldn’t be prouder of Elliott, he has taken the initiative on something he believes strongly about! 

“That at ten years old Elliott is confident enough to achieve so much highlights why the services that face cuts are so vital. 

“Elliott was supported by children’s services as a baby and, when I became a lone parent in his early months, Elliott and I relied very heavily on our local Sure Start Centre. Like so many community services our local Sure Start Centre is now part of Thrapston library.”

Support is ongoing for a campaign to save our services since the announcement that Northamptonshire County Council is facing a cash crisis. Plans for the county-wide authority with smaller unitary authorities has prompted more opposition with fears that the new councils will inherit the debt.

Hundreds have already signed a petition launched by Beth calling on our Northamptonshire MPs and the current Conservative Government to save our buses.

Beth said: “The decision to cut subsidies has had a devastating effect on the lives of many villagers.

“This is a short-sighted decision by the Conservative-controlled Northamptonshire County Council. The county’s seven Conservative MPs and the current Conservative Government need to act now and put pressure on the

decision makers.

“We keep hearing that the MPs have been speaking to the two commissioners who are now heading the county council but this is not good enough – we want to see action.

“Northamptonshire county councillors, who backed the decision, should take a long, hard look at what this means to the people they are meant to represent and Conservative MPs should lobby harder in Westminster for the sake of people like Elliott.”