Wet weather adds to low by-election turnout fears


Polling stations opened just over an hour ago in Oldham as voting takes place today in a by-election called following the sad death of Cllr Jean Stretton in September, 2022.

Jean was a popular Labour Party councillor for twenty years in the Hollinwood ward and a respected former Leader of the Metropolitan Borough Council.

The red rosette on this occasion will be worn by the experienced and well regarded Hannah Roberts, a local librarian, who lost her Royton North seat in controversial circumstances at the local elections in May, 2022. She was the victim of a smear campaign orchestrated by an infamous conspiracy theorist from the neighbouring Borough of Tameside (read more here).

The Liberal Democrats have selected Dominic Cadman. A member since 2016, he is highly rated by fellow Party members. He works as an Asset Manager at Vestas in Chester and lives in Chadderton.

Well known local businessman, Kamran Ghafoor (pictured above), will represent the troubled Oldham Conservatives (read more here). A Director of eight companies, he is probably best known as one of the owners of Cafe East, a popular Punjabi restaurant in Yorkshire Street, Oldham.

John Lawrence, who campaigned in the May 2022 election in Hollinwood, and secured 174 votes (against Cllr Stretton’s 1,010 votes), will stand as a National Housing Party UK candidate. ‘Big John’, as he prefers to be known, has a lengthy history with such as the British Nationalist Party and Britain First (read more here). He lives in the Mumps area of the town.

The Party formerly known as Proud of Oldham and Saddleworth (POOS), now re-incarnated as Oldham Borough Independent (OBI), is putting up a local resident for election, Barbara Victoria Whitehead (known as Vicky).

Turnout at the May local elections in Hollinwood was a paltry 23%, the lowest in the Borough. Political pundits were forecasting a turnout of between 15% and 20% even before the impact of heavy rain which is set to fall in the area for most of the day.

The record low turnout, according to data provided by Oldham Council, was counted after the Failsworth East by-election in 2018.

The count will take place tonight at the Civic Centre in Oldham. The polling booths close at 10pm and a result is expected to be announced before midnight.

Page last updated Thursday 17th November, 2022 at 1950hrs

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

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

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