No Government intervention at troubled council as Tory motion heavily defeated

As safely and exclusively predicted on Neil Wilby Media last week, a Conservative Party motion at Full Council failed to persuade their fellow elected Members that the running of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council by an ‘out of depth’ administration warranted intervention by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Moved by Cllr Bethany Sharp (St James) and seconded by Cllr Lewis Quigg (Royton North) the motion (featured in its entirety in the fifteen minute video clip above) had the twin taints of desperation to maintain relevance and an electioneering ploy to cover the fact that the local Tory manifesto extends to very little beyond abusing and smearing their Labour and Liberal Democrat opponents. The latter being painted as a tame adjunct to the former.

The Liberal Democrats did not participate in the debate and abstained from the vote on the motion in which a heavy defeat was inflicted on the Conservatives.

Two notable features being the missing of an open goal by the Labour Leader, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, in her speech in reply to the motion and a remarkable about-turn by the hyper-local Failsworth Independent Party (FIP), previously joined at the hip with the Tories.

The FIP Group Leader, Cllr Brian Hobin, described the motion as ‘pointless’ and ‘adding little or nothing to the local debate’. Which may well account for his first worthwhile contribution as a councillor since he was elected in May, 2019.

FIP, against every prediction, voted against the motion. Or at least the two that were still in the chamber did. Two of their number, Cllrs Mark Wilkinson and Sandra Ball (both Failsworth West, rabidly anti-Labour and tame proxies for former FIP Chair, Kathleen Wilkinson) could not countenance voting against the Tories and left the meeting a long time before the motion was heard and Cllr Hobin’s position was articulated on it.

Cllr Dave Arnott (Royton North) was the original seconder of the Conservative motion, but pulled out on the morning of the debate, claiming he had woken up ‘unwell’. A fact not immediately obvious from his social media feed. Another noisy Tory, Cllr Robert Barnes, and, ironically, a close friend of both Cllr Arnott and Cllr Hobin failed to show up and add his considerable weight to the motion. Probable underlying reasons for his absence are covered here in a recent Neil Wilby Media exclusive.

Another less conspicuous Member of the local Conservative Party, Cllr Luke Lancaster (Saddleworth South) was also an absentee.  Meaning that a third of all the Tories on Oldham Council stayed at home.

At least two of those absentees may never sit in the civic chamber again, a fact probably not lost on either. A remark that could also apply to the two early leavers.


Page last updated Sunday 19th March, 2023 at 1550hrs

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Picture credits: Oldham Council YouTube channel

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Published by Neil Wilby

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

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