A minor dispute between councillors of different political persuasion has now, it appears, escalated almost out of control.
Two Liberal Democrat councillors who sit on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Cllrs Louie Hamblett and Mark Kenyon, raised issues against a senior Labour Party colleague, Dr Zahid Chauhan MBE, over the declaration of a conflict of interest (read full story here and here).
The unfortunate saga has led to the issue of a number of legal letters alleging ‘a smear campaign’ and ‘defamation’ (read more here).
Lawyers acting for Dr Chauhan, who also serves the Borough this year as Deputy Mayor, have also issued unequivocal denials of any wrongdoing connected to the LibDem allegations.
Both Oldham Council, via a spokesperson, and its Leader, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, have also issued statements to that effect (read more here).
At least one of the four recipients has now hit back with a robust rebuttal of the claims: Raja Miah, an unemployed, Tameside-based conspiracy theorist, who runs the controversial Recusant Nine social media platforms, said yesterday morning:
“I’ve also just now had time to read in detail the letter I have had from Dr CHAUHAN’s lawyers. Its contents, threats and demands are breathtaking. Maybe in North Korea, Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia lad, but not here. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or that you’re ‘good friends’ with ANGELA RAYNER. Not here you don’t. Do Not Fear Them. Do Not Fear Any Of Them”.
The last two sentences are, effectively, his signature lines, appearing, as they do, on every Recusant Nine Facebook post and YouTube transmission.
Angela Rayner MP, serves the Ashton-under-Lyne constituency and is, variously, the current Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and a senior Shadow Cabinet Minister. She appears to have no proximity to this dispute and has made no public comment about it.
Raja Miah later added, after a live broadcast to his followers at lunchtime yesterday:
“I’ve responded to [Dr Chauhan’s] lawyers [regarding] their threats if I do not delete everything to do with ROYTON MEDICAL CENTRE, MEDLOCK MEDICAL PRACTICE & Dr ZAHID CHAUHAN.
“Tomorrow morning I will lodge a formal complaint against JEMMA FLEETWOOD & OLIVER WRIGHT of JMW SOLICITORS with the SRA. Whether they like it or not, it is in the public interest to know of Dr CHAUHAN’s role in both of these medical centres that received damning inspection reports from the CQC. As is it in the public interest to raise concerns of the contract between the ‘not for profit’ BARDOC and Oldham Council, and Dr CHAUHAN’s paid role as CEO of BARDOC, and his claiming of over £500,000 in third party transactions from a company where he is also listed as a ‘director’.”
Dr Chauhan’s lawyers, have issued other ‘warning letters’ to Cllr Kenyon; another well known local but unelected politician, Paul Errock; and one of the town’s two local newspapers, The Oldham Chronicle, respectively.
None of these three has, so far, issued any public statement regarding the assertions made against them or responded to requests for comment from Neil Wilby Media.
The Chron did, however, promptly take down from their website the article that is the subject of the legal letter. A cautious response, whatever the final outcome between the various protagonists in this unfortunate dispute.
More to follow.
Page last updated Tuesday 29th November, 2022 at 1010hrs
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