A controversial Conservative councillor, who owes his seat on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council almost entirely to a grotesque smear campaign against his main opponent, faces losing his Party nomination for the ‘all-out’ elections in May, 2023.
Cllr Robert Barnes, who presently represents the Chadderton South ward, narrowly ousted the former Labour and Council Leader, Arooj Shah, after highly personalised, ‘de-humanising’, ‘racist’ and ‘misogynistic’ leaflets were posted through most, if not all, letterboxes in the area by Tory candidates from other wards in the lead up to the 2022 poll (read more here).
The claim by Leeds-born and bred Cllr Barnes, unsuccessful as a local election candidate in Oldham on numerous previous occasions, that he was not personally involved in that vicious campaign has a hollow ring when one considers his actions before and after the election (read more here).
Closely aligned at the time with the Greater Manchester Region’s most notorious conspiracy theorist, Raja Miah, the Oldham Conservatives enthusiastically adopted his core narrative that the Labour Party in the Borough, in concert with the police, paid council officers and other safeguarding partners, covered up child sexual exploitation in return for Asian block votes at local and general elections.
A claim that has been found, independently, to have no basis in facts or evidence: It was based on a mysterious and still undisclosed Miah ‘dossier of evidence’ that was completely debunked as a fake, by Neil Wilby Media, as far back as November, 2020 in a seminal, assiduously researched 7,000+ article headlined ‘Get The White Vote Angry‘ (read here).
In August, 2022, during a Parliamentary debate, and the following month by way of a written response to a request by the Liberal Democrats Leader in Oldham (read more here and here), the Home Office were clear that they backed those findings and there would be no further inquiry ordered by them following the publication in June, 2022 of a CSE Assurance Review commissioned by the Greater Manchester Mayor (read more here).
Robert Barnes has turned out to be a notably poor choice for Chadderton South voters, which included, at the time, one of his sponsors, the notably shifty, evasive Cllr Dave Arnott, another miserable failure as an elected Member (read more here). He went ‘missing’ for a number of weeks last Autumn (read more here) and when he did eventually re-appear, at a Full Council meeting in November, 2022 min us the Conservative Party whip, he was forced to make a grovelling apology to the Mayor and the rest of the chamber over his appalling behaviour at meetings in June and July. At least one of the three Standards complaints made against him was upheld.
Local sources say his record on case working is poor and his contributions in the council chamber mainly consist of promoting Raja Miah’s rabid conspiracy theories.
His notably poor judgement extends to support of Eleanor Williams (better known as Ellie) whom a jury at Preston Crown Court found guilty of eight counts of perverting the course of justice following a series of false, outrageous and seriously damaging claims of being raped and trafficked by men, some of whom she described as being part of a grooming gang network in her home town of Barrow-in-Furness, that the police found, after an extensive investigation, not to exist.
That may have been one of a number of factors that has, apparently, led to Robert Barnes being de-selected in Chadderton South. The source of that information being a fellow Tory councillor, Max Woodvine. Not the most reliable one has to say but there is no good reason to believe that he would mislead on an issue as serious as this (read more here).
If Cllr Woodvine is correct then it leaves Cllr Barnes with a number of options: Not to stand in the forthcoming local elections in May; to stand as an independent in the ward where he presently holds a seat; to stand in the ward where he lives, Hollinwood, where at least one of the Labour candidates, Cllr Hannah Roberts, looks particularly vulnerable (read more here). In either of those two cases he would receive backing again from Raja Miah and his support group whom, appositely, self-style as The Rabble.
Another viable option is to join his close friends at the Failsworth Independent Party; Cllr Brian Hobin and Party Chair, Kathleen Wilkinson, are also long-term Miah disciples. Kath’s husband, Cllr Mark Wilkinson (who sits as her tame proxy in the civic chamber), owes his Failsworth West seat to a grotesque Miah and Raja’s Rabble smear campaign that ousted former Council Leader, Sean Fielding (read more here).
Whichever way that scenario is painted, it is a racing certainty that the reputation of Oldham Council, already regularly smeared locally, regionally and nationally, will suffer even greater denigration.
Page last updated Tuesday 31st January, 2023 at 1130hrs
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