Speculation over alleged rape councillor reaches fever pitch

Early yesterday a short, but pointed, piece concerning the recent arrest and bail of a local councillor over rape allegations was published elsewhere on Neil Wilby Media (read here).

At that time, dialogue with both the press offices of Greater Manchester Police and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council was ongoing.

By a different route to the local and regional press, who have also reported on the events, NWM has arrived at the same place with the police, who have repeated a short statement in response to questions that included the councillor’s age, together with the date and location of the arrest. Necessary information for the force to meet its obligations to national policing guidelines, which include not naming suspects at the time of arrest other than in exceptional circumstances (read more here).

GMP simply say in response to those questions: A man was arrested on suspicion of rape and has been released on bail whilst enquiries continue.

Oldham Council’s formal response was: We are not able to comment on these allegations, and would suggest you contact Greater Manchester Police.

A well placed source has, however, confirmed that all necessary safeguarding protocols were put in train.

Speculation over the identity of the subject councillor is reaching fever pitch both in the borough and well beyond, some of it, incredibly, mocking or denigrating the alleged victim and more with seriously unpleasant racist overtones. But, although the information is now known to a rapidly increasing number of people, he has not been formally named.

Properly advised, he may well give careful consideration to a statement in these broad terms:

“In order to preserve the integrity and reputations of my fellow male elected Members, my own Party and the wider Council of which I am part, a decision has been taken to identify myself as the councillor recently arrested and bailed by GMP.

“The allegations against me will be robustly defended but I will, of course, continue to co-operate with the police investigation and have faith in the criminal justice system to reach the right outcome.

“Hopefully, this will remove much of the speculation surrounding the case and I urge social media users not to comment further whilst there is a live investigation in train”.

Regrettably, on all known evidence, the subject councillor is not surrounded by sensible, well adjusted political allies but even they, given what is presently in issue, might see the sense in what is expounded here.

Two who can be safely discounted from speculation are both independent councillors in the Oldham civic chamber, Cllr Aftab Hussain and Cllr Montaz Ali Azad.  They have nothing whatsoever to do with the subject allegations. That still leaves 36 male councillors wrongly under suspicion.

Page last updated Sunday 25th September, 2022 at 0720hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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