An exclusive published yesterday on Neil Wilby Media has had unexpected consequences for a sitting Oldham councillor and a law graduate running mate in the forthcoming ‘all-out’ local elections (read in full here).
The distribution of a leaflet by independent candidates Cllr Aftab Hussain and Aisha Kouser, as part of their campaigning in the St Mary’s ward in the Borough, was reported to the police by the local Labour Party as ‘a hate crime’. Cllr Hussain relied upon his Muslim faith as justification for what was published.
The objectionable content was a paragraph concerning LGBT being taught in schools in the ward. Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Leader of the Council, said she was ‘genuinely shocked at the homophobic nature of this leaflet in 2023’ and the leaflet showed ‘just how right-wing the independent movement in Oldham is – and how they’re determined to toxify local politics and turn residents against each other.’
A shadowy leading player in that ‘independents’ cartel, operating from outside the Borough and under the Mossley-based ‘Recusant Nine’ or ‘Coalition of Independents’ flags, is controversial former Liberal Democrat Oldham councillor and senior tax inspector, Mohib Uddin, a friend and political ally of Cllr Hussain.
An apology for any offence caused by the independents leaflet was tendered to Cllr Chadderton and other members of the LGBT community by Cllr Hussain. Amanda is one of two openly gay councillors presently serving in Oldham, the other, Cllr Louie Hamblett, a popular Liberal Democrat, also received an apology from Cllr Hussain.
In a typical spirit of conciliation, Louie extended an invitation to Aftab to be his guest at the next Oldham Pride celebrations in July, 2023, which was accepted.
In a day of drama, it was belatedly discovered, after the publication of the subject article, that the leaflet did not carry an imprint (usually a small line of type at the bottom of a page noting the name of the printer, promoter and candidate) which is an election offence. A matter of which the Returning Officer was quickly made aware.
Former Liberal Democrat activist, Cllr Hussain, has confirmed that new leaflets are in the process of production and printing with a promise that a copy will be provided to Neil Wilby Media as soon as one is available.
The local elections in Oldham take place on Thursday 4th May, 2023 and the count will take place at the civic centre on the following day. Closing date for nominations to stand as a candidate close at 4pm on Tuesday 4th April, 2023. A full list will be published on this website soon afterwards.
UPDATE: Cllr Aftab Hussain has backed away from his retraction and his acceptance of the invitation to attend Pride as a guest of Cllr Hamblett. Read full, exclusive story here.
Page last updated Sunday 2nd April, 2023 at 1435hrs
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