Local councillor backtracks over legal action against journalist

Screenshot 2023-01-22 at 10.29.09

Following an article published by Neil Wilby Media on 11th January, 2023, headlined ‘They are not proper Tories’ (read in full here), a request was received from a controversial local councillor who claimed that those words had been mistakenly ascribed to him.

Cllr Max Woodvine (pictured above), who represents the Saddleworth South ward on Oldham Council, said he had proof that it was his mentor, former Mayor and Leader of the Borough’s Conservative Party, John Hudson, who had first said those words about four fellow councillors, whom are known collectively as the Oldham Conservatives: Cllrs Dave Arnott, Robert Barnes, Lewis Quigg and Bethany Sharp.

Asked to provide ‘the proof’ to which he referred, he has repeatedly declined.

The subject article had made clear that there were two respected and reliable sources who had heard Cllr Woodvine also say those words. Which, in any event, neither he, in lengthy email exchanges, nor any other Saddleworth Conservative Party councillor denies are true.

Indeed, commenting in June, 2022 on the indelible links between the Oldham Conservatives and a grotesque smear campaign orchestrated by infamous, Tameside-based conspiracy theorist, Raja Miah (read more here), Cllr Woodvine said, publicly, without even a minute trace of self-awareness:

“It makes me feel ashamed really. As Conservatives we need to display exemplary standards expected of us by the people who put us where we are and make us councillors.”

After being refused both an apology and his demands for the removal of the subject article, Cllr Woodvine said, in unequivocal terms, that he was going to take legal action against its author.

Asked politely, since, to provide details of the law firm and the solicitor who has taken instructions on what would be a grave and expensive undertaking, he has declined. Instead, claiming that his legal adviser has told Max ‘you should not waste your time with unimportant people’.

To which, Neil Wilby, whom freely and unreservedly admits to being ‘unimportant’, says:

“Max Woodvine’s perpetual arrogance and stupidity is already well rehearsed in the local, regional and national press. As a laughing stock amongst local councillors in the UK he has few, if any, peers.

“He is also despised in the Oldham Council chamber for his routinely obnoxious conduct, particularly his stream of invective directed towards Labour Members. Including another assertion entirely lacking in self-awareness that ‘all Labour seem to do his lie’.

“His approach to facts, evidence and the truth could, most charitably, be described as bizarre. For that reason, his claim of talking to a lawyer about a defamation claim is, very probably, another of his youthful fantasies.

“These traits may well contribute to his difficulties holding down a job for more than a few months. As will the resort to vacuous and puerile abuse in his last three emails to me. Resonating with describing a local resident as ‘a nutter’ for simply asking if Cllr Woodvine spoke for himself, or the Conservative Party, over his Facebook claim that, at the height of the pandemic, ‘Covid was nothing to be scared of’. To date, over 183,000 have died after contracting the virus. Millions, including myself, suffer from its after-effects.

“Nothing Neil Wilby Media could say would add to that unfortunate, shameful catalogue of failings. Any court claim that asserts his reputation has reached the legal threshold of being ‘seriously damaged’, by saying four fellow councillors ‘are not proper Tories’, would be expensive, wholly misconceived, doomed to fail and accompanied by a hefty adverse costs order”.

“No self-respecting lawyer, instructed on all the relevant facts, would advise otherwise”.

Cllr Woodvine was offered right of reply. He did not acknowledge or respond substantively to the email.

His current employer, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme, has also been approached for comment.

Page last updated at 2345hrs on Tuesday 24th January, 2023

Thank you for reading and a polite request: If you wish to make a contribution to the running costs of this website it would be very much appreciated. Donations can made securely, via PayPal at this link.

Corrections: Please let me know if there is a mistake in this article. I will endeavour to correct it as soon as possible.

Right of reply: If you are mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let me have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory it will be added to the article.

Photo credit: Conservative Party

© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. 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, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Following an article published by Neil Wilby Media on 11th January, 2023 headlined ‘They are not proper Tories’ a request was received from a controversial local councillor who claimed that those words had been mistakenly ascribed to him.

Cllr Max Woodvine, a greenhorn who represents Saddleworth South on Oldham Council, said he had proof that it was his mentor, former Mayor and Leader of the Borough’s Conservative Party, John Hudson, who had said those words.

Asked to provide ‘the proof’ to which he referred

Page last updated at 0805hrs on Sunday 22nd January, 2023

Thank you for reading and a polite reques: If you wish to make a contribution to the running costs of this website it would be very much appreciated. Donations can made securely, via PayPal at this link.

Corrections: Please let me know if there is a mistake in this article. I will endeavour to correct it as soon as possible.

Right of reply: If you are mentioned in this article and disagree with it, please let me have your comments. Provided your response is not defamatory it will be added to the article.

Photo credit:

© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. 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, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

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

6 thoughts on “Local councillor backtracks over legal action against journalist

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