Twelve weeks today and Failsworth will go to the polls to elect two local councillors.
Because of the local, regional and national attention the town received, following Sean Fielding‘s controversial defeat in May, 2021, the spotlight is likely to be trained heavily in this direction once again (read more here).
This is the state of play on candidates, as presently known.
Labour will field sitting councillor, Pete Davis, in West ward, and former Afghanistan judge, Marzia Babakarkhail, in East (read more here). It is expected that the full Party election machine will swing into action on what is seen as a key battleground.
The Failsworth Independent Party has made no announcement, as yet. Although the social media posturing of local man, Paul Wadsworth, a former soldier and founder of, and main man in, the controversial ‘vigilante’ group, Failsworth Street Patrol, has led to speculation that he may be standing in West ward. For the May, 2021 elections, FIP announced their candidates a full year beforehand.
There is much speculation that they are struggling for candidates willing to stand for a Party with no discernible policies and a record of almost zero achievement in the Civic Centre. One of their three elected councillors, the nearly-invisible Neil Hindle, has a poor meeting attendance record (4 out of 8). There is also some internal conflict over the number of Party members, who pay £15 for the privilege and form the pool from which candidates would be nominated: Cllr Mark Wilkinson (also FIP Treasurer) claims it is ‘around 70’; Cllr Brian Hobin, a convicted fraudster, says it is ‘over 100’. A scrutiny of their accounts filed with the Electoral Commission suggests between 75 and 80. A meeting of FIP members, planned for the end of February, 2022, may resolve the election candidates issue as part of its business.
The Liberal Democrats are yet to select their candidates, but Richard Darlington, who stood in East ward in 2021, has left the area and won’t be standing in East ward.
The Oldham and Saddleworth Conservative Group is said to be struggling for both Members and activists in the North Manchester suburb. Their campaign is expected to be low key, beyond the posturing of their leading ‘electioneer’, Kaiser Rehman, who has attached himself to a group of Failsworth-orientated social media trolls who style themselves as ‘The Warriors of Oldham’. Kaiser is ineligible to stand as he was convicted of harassing Dr Zahid Chauhan in August, 2021 and is, presently on prison licence, serving an eighteen month suspended jail sentence.
84 year old Warren Bates
, a perennially controversial figure, may not be standing at all this year as he faces a police complaint over 2021 election expenses irregularities. There was previously speculation that he would join hands with FIP in an attempt to dislodge Pete Davis in West ward (read more here
Wazza, as he is known locally, has also had meetings with both the Workers’ Party and a new entity founded by Britain First leading light, John Lawrence
, styled NHPUK. He is also very strongly attached to Raja Miah
, a disgraced political activist from Tameside, who is currently on court bail awaiting trial over harassment and malicious communication charges (read more here
Miah recently reversed his previous, and avid, support for the Failsworth Independent Party, so crucial in dislodging Sean Fielding, by very publicly describing its leading lights as “thick as pigshit”. That could well prove to be portentous come the early hours of 6th May, 2022.
The other hyper-local party in the Borough, Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth, announced their candidates at the beginning of the month. They field eight candidates across the twenty wards. Six of them stood unsuccessfully in the May, 2021 elections.
The full list of candidates, from all parties, who stood in the May, 2021 elections can be viewed here
Page last updated at 0855hrs on Friday 11th February, 2022
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