In an article published late yesterday evening (26th March, 2023) news was broken of a bid by a renegade group within the Conservative Party in Oldham and Saddleworth to undermine their main political opponents in what appeared, objectively viewed, to be blatant electioneering.
Briefly, four of the nine Tory councillors in the Borough had banded together and cobbled a poorly drafted letter to Oldham Council’s chief executive, Harry Catherall, raising concerns over the legitimacy of a £1 million grant that will see the town’s two main professional sporting teams come together at Boundary Park: Oldham Athletic (the Latics) and Oldham RLFC (the Roughyeds or Yeds). The letter is published in within that article, together with an analysis of the Tory weaknesses in their depleted midfield and defence, and can be read in full here.
Responding to a press request from Neil Wilby Media, the Council Leader, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, ran confidently through the opposition and kicked the ball straight back into the Tory net: Labour 1 Conservatives 0.
“I’m genuinely staggered that the Oldham Conservatives continue to publicly admit they’ve got no ambition for our town.”
“Oldham Labour Party are immensely proud of Oldham’s sporting heritage and we know how important both rugby and football are to people in this town. It has always been an ambition to bring them together in one place.
“This investment not only secures the future of Oldham Rugby League Football Club, it paves the way for future investment in sport in Oldham and allows for vastly greater use of Boundary Park.
“I know how passionate Frank Rothwell and Darren Royle are about expanding the women’s and youth teams at OAFC and this allows them to do that. My early conversations with the new owners of Oldham RLFC have also reflected a similar ambition on their side as well.
“Oldham Conservatives also clearly do not understand how the Council works and they continue to do a disservice to their residents by conflating capital expenditure with revenue raising. As the Oldham Conservatives themselves point out, this investment went before Cabinet – at which point any member of the Conservative group could have attended to ask questions or make comments, they chose not to do so.
“As we approach the local elections, it appears the Oldham Conservatives’ strategy is to throw as much mud as possible and hope some of it sticks. The Oldham Conservative Group have absolutely nothing positive to say about the town, they have no ambition for the future of Oldham and it is increasingly apparent that they are not serious about improving Oldham.
“Oldham Labour has a plan and a vision to build a better Oldham and Oldham Conservatives do a disservice to everyone when they attempt to trash what is an overwhelmingly positive story.”
Cllr Lewis Quigg (pictured below), who appears to be leading the renegade Tories, has been offered right of reply.
The Liberal Democrats Leader on Oldham Council, Cllr Howard Sykes, apparently did not want to play ball and, unusually, did not respond to a request for comment or a statement.
Page last updated Monday 27th March, 2023 at 1815hrs
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Picture credits: Oldham Council
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