Council Leader hits back at Opposition ‘smears’

Amanda Chadderton and Harry Catherall

Following a story first broken by Neil Wilby Media earlier today (read in full here), Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, has hit back at critics of her Labour Party colleague, Cllr Zahid Chauhan MBE, who alleged that he had breached the Council’s Standards by not declaring a conflict of interest over a contract to provide COVID-19 swabbing.

Cllr Chadderton says:

“This is a complete non-story, Zahid declared his conflict of interest and was not involved in any decision making relating to payments made to Bardoc Ltd.

“Zahid took legal advice on his declarations and was informed that his declarations were correct. The Lib Dems know this as they have been informed by the Chief Executive already.

“At the height of the pandemic Bardoc was providing vital community testing services to the public as we dealt with Omnicron spikes and Zahid himself led the way in ensuring communities often left behind by health services received appropriate attention. Including making sure vaccines were available to homeless people.

“It is also relevant to point out that Bardoc is a not for profit organisation and operates as a social enterprise.

“This appears to be part of a concerted smear campaign against a well respected local GP who happens to be involved in local politics. I’m surprised the Lib Dems have opted to use the local Conservative and Independents playbook and start conspiracy theories. We have seen how other local politicians have been targeted in the same way, it debases the political discourse in Oldham and the town deserves better than this”.

The Liberal Democrat Leader, Cllr Howard Sykes MBE, has been approached for a response to Cllr Chadderton’s statement.

Following a request for a statement to their press office, a spokesperson for Oldham Council added:

“Bardoc was contracted by Oldham Council to provide vital community testing to support us during the Covid 19 pandemic. That contract was approved in March 2021 for twelve months and extended for a further twelve months in February 2022.

“The Council is satisfied that both at the point that decisions were made around the original contract and at the point the contract was extended Dr Chauhan declared his interest as an employee of Bardoc and removed himself from the decision-making process.”

Page last updated Wednesday 16th November, 2022 at 1440hrs

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Picture credits: Oldham Council

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Published by Neil Wilby

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

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