Fans of outgoing Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd have offered to help him pay off his mortgage after his defeat in last week’s General Election.
This comes after Liberal Democrat Stephen, 57, thanked those who voted for him - but said he needed to find a job to pay off his £176,000 mortgage.
I’m desperately touched by your wonderful idea but our hospitals need is fare greater than mine.
Since the creation of the group Stephen thanked his supporters - but suggested the money was donated to the Save the DGH campaign instead.
Stephen took to his Facebook page after his election loss - which saw him lose his seat by 733 votes to Conservative Caroline Ansell.
He said, “I am just blown away by your kindness and encouragement. I’d really rather NOT have lost but to see first hand that what I’d achieved for our town as your MP is recognised and appreciated by so many of you is just wonderful for the soul. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
But he said, “The reality is I have to get a well paid job sharpish. This is not me being greedy; I re-mortgaged twice and cashed in my pension to win the election in 2010 so still, bluntly, at the age of 57 owe a £176,000 mortgage and have very limited savings, so need to focus on getting a good job. Being an unpaid candidate simply isn’t do-able otherwise I’ll go broke!
“Now I’m being as straight as this for you guys because you’ve all been so lovely to me. Hopefully this explains why I’ve said what I’ve said?
“Anyway. Love you lots. It was a fantastic five years - and rock on our wonderful, wonderful Eastbourne.”
This prompted the creation of the Facebook group “Friends of Stephen Lloyd”, which was originally called “Let’s pay off Stephen Lloyds Mortgage!”.
It currently has more than 200 members, pledging their support for Stephen.
The idea was to help Stephen pay off his mortgage so he can campaign to return as Eastbourne’s MP in 2020.
Since the creation of the group, he said, “I am terribly grateful for the kind thoughts of the many people who have signed up to a possible crowd-funding effort to raise money to help pay off my mortgage so I can fight again in 2020 as the Lib Dem candidate for Eastbourne.
“However folks, I cannot in all conscience support this effort. There are an awful lot of local people out there far worse off than me. I only flagged to you, my FB followers, the reality of me still having a giant mortgage (at the tender age of 57) because I believed it important that people realised financial constraints mean I can’t easily afford to campaign for another five years to possibly return as your MP at the next general election in 2020. I am though profoundly touched by your extraordinary efforts.
“However, I do have an idea for the good of our town; if people would like to show support for me financially I propose the crowd-funding group make donations to the Save the DGH campaign. Our hospital has had a tough time of it recently and the senior managers, bizarrely, are still in place. “Those same mangers whose leadership was called ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission!
“This means Eastbourne continues to have a battle on its hands over the coming months to keep fighting for our hospital. And the Save the DGH campaign, under the fantastic leadership of Liz Walke, is going to need money to be able to keep campaigning to retain core services at the DGH until we finally win.
“Consequently, any donations my lovely ‘crowd-funding’ group wish to make to the Save the DGH campaign will, I am sure, be very welcome. It’s our hospital and it remains up to all of us to keep up the good fight.
“I will start the ball rolling by making a personal donation of £100. If anyone else on FB would like to join me, please send your cheques to my home address - 18 Bradford Street, Old Town, Eastbourne BN21 1HZ, made out to Save the DGH campaign, and I will make sure all the money gets to Liz along with my contribution. Or if you prefer to donate online, I’ll get some more techie friends to set up a JustGiving site and let you all know when it’s in position so you can contribute of you wish.
“I hope you understand where I’m coming from folks. I’m desperately touched by your wonderful idea but our hospitals need is far greater than mine.”
The Facebook group, Friends of Stephen Lloyd, can be found here.
Stephen also thanked his supporters for arranging a picnic on his behalf on May 24 - details can be found here.