Labour MP Bill Esterson presents 51,000 name petition opposing T

Bill Esterson and Brian George



Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson officially presented to the government a 51,000 signatured petition calling for Liverpool Coastguard Station in Crosby to be saved.
 
The campaign was flooded with people wanting to add their names to calls for the government to reverse its plans to close the Crosby station.
 
The Tory-Lib Dem government is planning to close the station as part of major plans to slash the country's coastguard stations down from 19 to eight.
 
A campaign was launched immediately after the announcement and Bill set to work demanding a full review of the government's decision. He has questioned the government minister responsible for the decision and called debates in Westminster Hall, each time highlighting the dangers in closing the stations.
 
Bill said the government is "dicing with people's lives" by closing the stations.
 
Bill said: "All of the experts on this issue say the same thing, that local knowledge is crucial in saving people's lives. Closing these stations puts people at risk.
 
"More than 51,000 people who signed the petition agree. This government would be foolish to ignore their concerns and push ahead with this closure.
 
"This campaign has been an example of the community, working together with the campaigners and the union to fight to get the government to come to its senses.
 
"These planned closures are a cut too far. They are another attack on our vital emergency services and we will continue to fight these ill-thought out Tory-Lib Dem plans all the way."
 
PCS union Liverpool Branch Chairman and Liverpool Station watch officer, Brian George, handed the petition to Bill ahead of the formal presentation to the government.
 
Brian said: "We are obviously delighted at the response, although not surprised, we have been aware for many years of the huge depth of feeling by coastal users and the general public in this area. We will continue to try to convey that feeling to the Government and MCA management.
 
"Our primary concern is for the safety and well being of mariners and coastal users in this area. Thousands of people, many of them British taxpayers, rely on our coastline and coastal waters for their livelihood, many more use the coast for leisure purposes. None of these people deserve to be forced to accept a reduced coastguard service in this area.”
Bill Esterson said this was not the end of the campaign.
 
Bill said: "This petition is just the latest chapter in our fight to get the Tories and Liberal Democrats in government to see sense.
 
"We are doing everything we can to oppose these plans. Campaigners from right here in Crosby have even drawn up alternative plans which would end up saving the government millions of pounds. but they are plans which the government have refused to even look at.
 
"But this government has proven time and again that with enough public pressure, we can force the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats into u-turns. It happened in relation to their planned sell-off of our forests and it can happen again."