Councillor’s wife opens up over hyper-local Party split

A dramatic and hugely damaging split in the controversial and routinely disgraced hyper-locals, Failsworth Independent Party, was exclusively revealed by Neil Wilby Media over a month ago on its Facebook page. Yet again, the sleepy, plc owned local and regional media, whom, between them, were beaten to significant news on the patch by a small, niche operation.

FIP has desperately tried to keep the lid on the scandal but an article published on 5th April (read here), and a pointed exchange on Twitter (read here) earlier on that same day, forced the hands of the two warring factions. Headed up by their Group Leader on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, Cllr Brian Hobin and his business partner, Cllr Neil Hindle, on one side and, on the other side, the Wilkinson family; Cllr Mark Wilkinson, his wife Kathleen Wilkinson, very recently deposed as Party chairperson and her ’embarrassing’ daughters (according to Kath), Rachel Brotherton and Sarah Radcliffe. 

Cllr Hindle’s wife, Susan Hindle, has this to say about the increasingly ugly drama. It is, very arguably, the nearest to the truth following public statements on the respective Facebook pages of ‘Mark Wilkinson – Failsworth West’ (the ward he represents) and the official Facebook page of ‘The Failsworth Independents’ now controlled by the Party’s new Chair, Brian Hobin in the Failsworth East ward.

“The Failsworth West councillors have done a fabulous job, however they are too busy and too concerned about what the East councillors were doing. They are not team players and have shown this over the last few weeks.

“Previous to this vote the Failsworth West councillors, along with all the [below] names had meetings at the Wilkinson house slandering and looking at ways to get rid of [sitting councillors] Neil [Hindle] and Lucia [Rea]. Bullying tactics that have been going on over the last few months that none of you have been aware of. I saw first hand the other night mark and Kath’s bullying techniques, disgraceful behaviour for grown adults.

“The members being Chris Ryan backed by Mark Wilkinson, Kath Wilkinson, David Gidman, [Kath Wilkinson’s daughters] Sarah Radcliffe and Rachel Brotherton, Joanne Potts, Sandra Ball, Anna Line, Alan Brady, Dean Ludford, Chris Baddeley.

“They all wanted this vote as they thought Neil [Hindle] and Lucia [Rea] would be voted out. Unfortunately this back fired. Joanne Potts [Party Treasurer and one of two invigilators] then wanted to void the result 🤷‍♀️ and have another vote”.

Most of those FIP members, named by Mrs Hindle, read like a Who’s Who of the Failsworth Branch of ‘The Rabble’. A notorious group of anti-Labour axe-grinders and malcontents attached to the Region’s most notorious conspiracy theorist, Raja Miah. Unemployed and Tameside-based he runs the disgraced, and frequently banned, ‘Recusant Nine’ social media platforms (read more here).

Other local commentators have provided much-needed additional insight into the rift as the Wilkinsons and the Failsworth East faction (Cllrs Hobin and Hindle plus Cllr Lucia Rea), apart from Mrs Hindle, who may yet have a wider role in fully exposing the barely concealed detail of what has led to the de-selection of Cllrs Wilkinson and his close friend, Cllr Sandra Ball, the removal of the Party founder, Kath Wilkinson, as Chair and the resignations of Treasurer, Joanne Potts, and Nominating Officer, Gaye Cordingley, still do not appear to wish the whole truth see the light of day.

Good luck with that project, Kath and Brian, in a close-knit community like Failsworth. This is just a selection of the East meets West comments now posted on Facebook. Each side now accusing the other of lies, deceit, indecency and cheating.

Joanne Potts: “There is no one more shocked by this result than me, l along with the Nominating Officer did the count for members votes and there are so many questions unanswered. I had no alternative but to resign as Treasurer as l could not be a part of something that went against our constitution, the Nominating Officer also resigned the next day. Think of that what you will 🤷‍♀️ Something seriously wrong that two of the best councillors in Failsworth were deselected it’s an absolute disgrace”. 

Hannah Jacobs (to Joanne Potts): “When you get answers please will you let Failsworth know.
I need to understand the post from Brian [Hobin] & [Neil] Hindle that has now been removed.

“What about the Hindle affair & the financial commitment Brian has with Hindle through his business. Did this transfer some loyalty. Hindle says, two sides to every story, why doesn’t he tell his. I hope he includes the story he told my husband & many others. Disgusting”.

Rachel Brotherton: “I never realised when people told me politics was a dirty game, that this meant the enemy could also come from within. The way you [Cllr Wilkinson] have been treated by FIPs leader [Cllr Hobin] is something that will never be forgotten.

“The lies that have been told to members will eventually unravel and the truth will out. All because you were fighting for what was “right” and what the true and original values of FIP were. You still have decency on your side, which is way more than can be said for the current FIP councillors.

“It’s a shame what has happened to FIP, but let’s be honest, you WERE FIP. It will crash and burn without you especially if that’s how they treat people”.

Anna Line: “You [Rachel Brotherton] have said straight up how it is, we know what deceit and lies that have been told behind the scenes by a first class narcissist and his so called friends”. 

Carl Holt: “This is a typical Kangaroo court situation both damaging to Mark [Wilkinson] and Sandra [Ball] but ultimately moving forward for FIP it will be reckless and decisive in the fate of FIP.

“The cynical part of me can’t get away from the self destruct element from within? Let’s face it the “stale” Labour Party that we’re only councillors in name for years years in Failsworth never got over the FIP taking control of a town they seen as theirs, and now destruction from within has probably handed them back control, sad day the FIP always had my vote.

“Labour used to blame politics on a national scale affecting local votes, this won’t help FIP fate either”.

Tracey Pooley: [The de-selection of Cllrs Ball and Wilkinson] is very sad. It is my personal opinion but I don’t have a great deal of respect for Councillor Hobin, too many times his hypocrisy was prevalent in the chamber, hope you do well in your respective campaigns.

There are numerous others in the same vein and this exclusive is plainly a story with plenty of legs yet. Follow Neil Wilby on Twitter (here) and Neil Wilby Media on Facebook (here) for updates. 


Page last updated Friday 6th April, 2023 at 1010hrs

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Published by Neil Wilby

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

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