JILL MORTIMER: PM’s father to father meeting about the case of missing Katrice

On Monday, the Prime Minister came to Hartlepool to meet with Richard Lee, whose daughter Katrice Lee tragically went missing from a military shopping complex near Paderborn in Germany on November 28, 1981: it was Katrice’s second birthday.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 12:00 am
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting Richard Lee in Hartlepool.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson meeting Richard Lee in Hartlepool.

Ever since, Richard has been trying to raise Katrice’s case with every Prime Minister since Margaret Thatcher. Boris Johnson honoured a commitment he made to me to sit down, father to father, and hear what Richard had to say. This outcome follows several months of campaigning by Richard, his family, and me and my team, and the Prime Minister has assured Richard that he will look at ways in which he can help.

While the Prime Minister was in Hartlepool, I also welcomed him to our nuclear power station. He indicated that Hartlepool was “very likely” to be selected as one of the eight sites for a new nuclear power station! I have been campaigning for this since being elected, and it is great to now see some meaningful progress. A new reactor would make Hartlepool the torchbearer of the Green Industrial Revolution and secure jobs and investment for our town for generations to come.

This great news comes as the effects of levelling up are already starting to take shape in our town: just last week Ben Houchen, Shane Moore and I unveiled plans for a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDC) in Hartlepool, one of the first MDCs in the country to focus on town centre redevelopment.

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Levelling up is no longer just a meaningless political soundbite but a real, tangible opportunity for everyone in our town and the wider region.

Alongside levelling up our region’s schools, technology, infrastructure and jobs, I have been clear that we must also level up health outcomes.

That is why I was thrilled to welcome Julie Gillon, Chief Executive of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust, and Neil Atkinson, the Trust’s Director of Finance, to Parliament last week for a meeting with the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, asking for an update on our bid for one of eight brand-new hospitals by 2030 and reiterated that greater investment is desperately needed in our town’s healthcare to combat some of the highest levels of health inequality in the country.

I firmly believe that we have a Prime Minister and Government wholeheartedly and unequivocally committed to levelling up the North East.