At 4pm today (4th April, 2023), Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council will publish its full list of election agents for the poll due to take place on 4th May, 2023, and, it follows from that announcement of course, the much anticipated list of which local election candidates are standing where.
Twenty wards will see a poll for three seats in each,: Alexandra, Chadderton Central, Chadderton North, Chadderton South, Coldhurst, Crompton, Failsworth East, Failsworth West, Hollinwood, Medlock Vale, Saddleworth North, Saddleworth South, Saddleworth West and Lees, Shaw, Royton North, Royton South, St James’, St Mary’s, Waterhead, Werneth.
This year sees an ‘all-out’ election following recent Boundary Commission changes across the Borough. The last time the entire Borough Council was up for election was in 2004.
Those topping the poll will serve for four years before re-election, second in the poll will serve for three years, third in the poll will face re-election next year. 2025 is a fallow year when no election will take place. As is 2029.
175 candidates stood in the 2004 all-outs, a total unlikely to be exceeded this year: None of the mainstream parties are expected to field a full slate of 60 candidates. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats will field at least one candidate in all 20 wards. The Conservative Party has did not contest three wards in 2022 and it is expected to be a similar, or worse, story this year after a turbulent, scandal-riddled municipal year. Cllr Robert Barnes was de-selected in Chadderton South after proving, in a one year tenure, to be one of the worst councillors to sit in Oldham civic chamber in living memory (read more here).
Hyper-locals, Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth (the POOS), after purporting to disappear after last year’s election, have been re-incarnated as the Oldham Borough Independents. They are expected to field seven candidates. Two of the ‘new faces’ being employees of POOS founder, Paul Errock, whom, although claiming to have ‘retired’, also moderates all the OBI pages on social media. Two of the other OBI candidates were POOS regulars.
The Failsworth Independent Party (FIP) has been ripped in two by a dramatic split which has seen Council Group Leader, Cllr Brian Hobin, take over as Chair and the ejection from the Party of former Chair, Kathleen Wilkinson, her husband Cllr Mark Wilkinson, and Cllr Sandra Ball. It is not known under which banner Cllrs Ball and Wilkinson will stand. They are joined by a third candidate in Failsworth West, Alan Brady, where it is said that Cllr Hobin’s FIP will field three candidates against them.
The Wilkinsons are not opposing Cllr Hobin and Cllrs Neil Hindle and Lucia Rea in Failsworth East. In the midst of that maelstrom, Pete Davis will seek to win back his seat in West for Labour. After losing last year, he has served the Borough in 2022/23 as one of the two Mayor’s Consorts (the other, long-serving Cllr Graham Shuttleworth, will be standing for re-election in Chadderton South). The Mayor, Cllr Elaine Garry, is retiring from her Failsworth West seat.
Both the POOS and FIP were highlighted last year in a lengthy and detailed Hope not Hate report as ‘havens for the far-right’ (read more here).
Montaz Ali Azad seeks re-election in his Coldhurst seat, aided by two other candidates under a new banner, the Coldhurst Independent Party. Two of his recent recent campaigns, standing as an independent since his ejection from Labour Party in 2018, have ended in controversy (read more here).
The National Housing Party UK Leader, John Lawrence, is expected to stand again in Hollinwood. He was previously a leading light in the far-right Britain First party. In the by-election in the same ward last November he polled just 59 votes. NHPUK were also cited in the same Hope Not Hate report.
Former Oldham UKIP Chair, Paul Goldring, is also expected to stand again for the Alliance for Democracy and Freedom (read more here).
Another haven for the far-right and UKIP spin-off, Northern Heart (UK), is expected to field just one candidate this year. Paul Taylor will roll back the years riding around with a tannoy on his car roof. Cheering on such as ex-UKIPer, Warren Bates, an independent who switches to the Chadderton South ward after decades contesting his home ward of Failsworth West (read more here).
A new party, Royton Independents, will field three candidates in Royton South. All new to local politics. Where they will face three sitting Labour councillors, including Council Leader, Cllr Amanda Chadderton. A smear campaign has targeted the Leader over the past year in the same way that saw the two previous Leaders deposed in the past two elections (read more here). Another independent and ex-UKIPer, Anthony Prince, is also standing in the same ward, as he did last year.
Last year saw Arooj Shah heavily and grotesquely targeted in a ‘dehumanising, racist, misogynistic’ campaign that deposed her by just 92 votes in her previously safe Labour seat in Chadderton South (read more here). A resident of Glodwick all her life, she seeks re-election this year in her home ward of St Mary’s.
Cllr Aftab Hussain will stand as an independent in St Mary’s, alongside Aisha Kouser. Their campaign has already proved highly controversial (read more here). Cllr Hussain just missed out in the 2004 election when standing as a Liberal Democrat in the Alexandra ward.
Helen Bishop, a Parish councillor who has stood as an independent for the past several years in Saddleworth South, will this year campaign under the Liberal Democrat flag. In an election year where there are likely to be a number of surprise results, she may provide one of them by denting the Tory stronghold.
Expected to be missing again this year are the Reform UK Party, Workers Party and United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP).
The Oldham Labour Party is defending a 15 seat majority. Five of their councillors, including Cllr Garry, announced their retirement from local politics at the last Full Council meeting in March.
Sitting councillors who featured successfully in the last ‘all-out’ election in 2004 are Cllrs Abdul Jabbar (Labour – Coldhurst), Peter Dean (Labour – Failsworth West), Steve Williams (Labour – Hollinwood), Steve Bashforth (Labour – Royton South), Howard Sykes (Liberal Democrat – Shaw), Fida Hussain (Labour – Werneth) and the legendary Cllr Riaz Ahmad (Labour – St Mary’s), who is retiring after over 30 years of public service (read more here).
Doorstep feedback, so far, strongly suggests that the cost of living crisis, and particularly energy bills, is the hot topic, rather than any particular local issue. Although, the closure of the Coliseum theatre (read more here) and a very recent £1 million investment in the town’s two professional football clubs are bound to be raised by voters (read more here).
Identity cards for voters is expected to be an issue in getting voters to the polling booths, as this is the first election in Oldham history where such verification has been required by statute. The last persons to be convicted of election fraud in the Borough were the aforementioned Cllr Montaz Ali Azad and Nashir Uddin, brother of Mohib Uddin, a former Liberal Democrat councillor.
There are also elections taking place on 4th May for Saddleworth Parish and Shaw and Crompton Parish.
The election count will take place at the Civic Centre in Oldham on Friday, 5th May, 2023. The results, announced on stage in the Queen Elizabeth Hall by Returning Officer, Harry Catherall, are expected to be screened live on the Council’s YouTube channel.
Page last updated: Tuesday 4th April, 2023 at 1215 hours
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2 thoughts on “Oldham Council set to reveal 2023 local election candidates later today”
The POOS have been busy in Shaw, asking shops to display their posters. Although the shops were approached and informed of what the POOS stand for, only two agreed to remove them. In fact there may be more in the windows, as now informed that the butcher has one up now in the window also.
Someone suggested referring them to The Hope Not Hate document, page 84/85, but I can’t see them reading that, as I’m sure we can take it that if they refuse to remove them they are supporters.
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