‘The Truth, whole truth and nothing but’ says mystery voice

Hobin on his feet plus Wilkinson at Extraordinary Meeting

Over the past few years, a lengthy series of Neil Wilby Media articles has demonstrated, irrevocably, that there is nothing quite so ludicrous in local politics in Greater Manchester, or possibly the entire country, than a Failsworth Independent Party (FIP) councillor or official. Just one of those articles can be read here. It includes links to several others.

Most notably, its recently displaced Chairwoman, Kathleen Wilkinson, whose arrogance, delusions of grandeur, stupendous ability to, variously, lie publicly, put a foot in her own mouth and organise a praetorian guard of deeply unpleasant on-line stalkers and trolls is, very arguably, unparalleled in local history.

Her tame proxy husband, gaffe-prone Cllr Mark Wilkinson, is another who becomes confused over fact and fiction. A difficulty that led to a Standards complaint being upheld against him over a spiteful, highly personalised, defamatory email circulated to every other Oldham councillor shortly after he was elected last May. Cllr Wilkinson has opted for a disciplinary hearing rather than settle the matter with a written apology to former Council Leader, Sean Fielding. 

Now the Party, founded by the Wilkinsons in September, 2019, and based at their home in the Failworth West ward, is riven with in-fighting. Heavily punctuated with public accusation and counter-accusation, that has seen them both displaced and very much on the outside looking in.

Kath, in particular, is said to be incandescent with fury and frustration. Sending out the on-line troops to undermine her former FIP colleagues, Cllrs Brian Hobin (who has replaced her as Chair), his business partner, Cllr Neil Hindle and Cllr Lucia Rea. All those three represent the Failsworth East ward. The full background to the dispute is set out in two very recent Neil Wilby Media exclusives here and here. At its heart was a West v East plot by the Wilkinsons and Cllr Ball to de-select Cllrs Hindle and Rea which spectacularly backfired on them.

David Gidman, a known Tommy Robinson disciple and bucket-filler in the Wilkinson family’s window cleaning business, has put up this comment on Mark Wilkinson’s Facebook councillor page. It makes some interesting assertions; unusually for ‘Gidders’ they are made in his own name, rather than one of his social media aliases, and, remarkably, have the ring of truth and chime with numerous other materials unearthed in the course of this journalistic investigation:

“Disgusting, but this is the reason that the [Failsworth] East councillors didn’t follow the constitutional selection process and only allow people to vote in person: The vote was done by email. 25 new members appeared, all paid [their FIP subscriptions in] cash, and the names were kept from the Treasurer [Joanne Potts], Mark [Wilkinson] and Sandra [Ball] claiming Data Protection [Act]. Which, when checked, was found to be a false claim. Confirmed by the Information Commissioner. All these new [FIP] members didn’t vote for Mark & Sandra, so they were de-selected”.

It is, curiously, at odds with what the official FIP page says in a statement put out with the strap-line ‘The Truth, whole truth and nothing but’, together with a bizarre, underlying legal threat (Note to Cllr Hobin, if indeed you posted the statement: Neil Wilby, the author of this article, states, authoritatively, that the present FIP narrative is not the whole truth. That is yet to emerge in its entirety. Moreover, the dismal public record of FIP councillors, this year, last year, any year does not bear scrutiny, either. It is not the rosy picture painted in that statement).

It is also noteworthy that since the FIP candidate selection took place, on or around 26th February, 2023, and news of the scandal broken by Neil Wilby Media on 4th (the day Brian Hobin opened his new pub) and 16th March there has been radio silence from all the FIP councillors and Party officials, past and present. That lack of transparency is seriously concerning. Not least as it is, purportedly a guiding principle of the Party and features prominently on the Home page of their website.


This is the FIP statement in full. Regrettably, and extraordinarily, posted anonymously.


“We are happy to put this in writing, if anybody wants to dispute the accuracy of this statement please seek legal advice accordingly as we are very happy to defend it in court.
We would appreciate if you would read and digest the full statement and the facts therein.

“We are posting this on our page to reach as many residents as possible in Failsworth and expect it to be viewed on Failsworth Matters and other local forums. However, we are aware of a particular bias on that platform so if this post is removed please help by sharing in other ways.

“Myths to debunk:

1, We are not running against any sitting independent councillors/candidates in Failsworth
2, We are campaigning for three seats in Failsworth East and one vacant seat in Failsworth West
3, Our aim is and always has been to achieve a Failsworth that is represented fully by Independent Councillors
4, The previous FIP West Councillors resigned from the party as a result of being deselected by members of the party in a democratic vote. Where we are now was never the intention of the Party and the 5 sitting councillors. The original agreement was made that sitting Councillors would automatically roll over to be this years candidates, leaving 1 of the Failsworth West positions to be campaigned for and filled by A.N. Other candidate, who would be selected by the party members. Unfortunately, this was overruled after a member put forward a proposal that all sitting Councillors should have to go in front of a vote. This process was then duly carried out as per party members wishes.
5, Regardless of what you may be hearing, the vote was legitimate and verified by 2 party officers. The members entitled to vote were fully paid up members by the valid deadline. The longstanding Nominating Officer of 4 years [Gaye Cordingley] felt the need to resign as a result of some members questioning her integrity and trying to force the party in a direction detrimental to it. The treasurer resigned because she didn’t like the result.
6, Contrary to comments on certain social media platforms, the Failsworth East Councillors carry out a large amount of work on a varied caseload and have many, many projects that have either been completed, or are on-going. Examples of these will be shown in our election campaign material and can be viewed on our Facebook pages.
7, Over and above the aforementioned caseload the three East Councillors work tirelessly in the background on your behalf preparing questions, motions and challenges to the Oldham Labour Council. This can all be seen by logging onto the council website to view all previous Full Council meetings.
8, We post updates on the FIP Facebook page to keep you informed, but we don’t feel the need to update various social media pages on a daily basis. Being a Councillor means doing the work at the trust of the people, not as performing donkeys. We are not here for the entertainment of a few people, we are here as active Councillors and we fulfil that role in a professional manner.
9, There is a rumour that an East Councillor hasn’t opened his laptop for 69 days. The facts are that as a working Councillor, provided with a council mobile phone, emails are carried out on that phone, which removes the need to carry your laptop around at all times.
10, We have never got into debates on Social Media pages and we will continue with that stance. We also ask that our supporters and members refrain from the tawdry and provocative bear bating that we are witnessing of recent days. We are aware of and will report the many fake profiles that are causing such disquiet.

Finally, we would like to thank all those who have contacted us to offer their kind words and support, it has been humbling to know that our characters cannot be assassinated.
We as a party look forward to continuing our work for the Failsworth community.
Wishing you all a Happy Easter. Enjoy the holidays”.

A bold, self-serving and, one might fairly say, narcissistic statement, will doubtless be subject to further public and journalistic scrutiny. Particularly at points 1, 4 and 5, 6 and 7, and 8. It is also a near-certainty, given the town’s reputation as one of the darker corners of the Region’s internet, that the Failsworth East cabal will have their characters well and truly ripped to shreds by on-line stalkers and trolls. Especially, as they do not name their own councillor who didn’t open his laptop for 69 days and, apparently and contrary to the FIP statement, ignored constituents’ emails.

Claire Ingle, a Failsworth resident says: “It’s not that the councillor has not opened his laptop for 65 days, but the fact he did not reply to emails for over 60 days and, as you rightly say, he can access his emails from many devices, so why were constituents ignored for what was 2months? Disgusting”.

Then there is this email to put in the mix. The ‘whole truth and nothing but’ is that the FIP statement appears to have missed out what happened between 27th March and 4th April, 2023 when the official list of candidate nominations was published by Oldham Council that included a ‘cut-throat’ candidate in Failsworth West, Jane Cashinella-Vaughan, a retired police officer, put up by the Failsworth East councillors.

Screenshot 2023-04-07 at 22.22.06

If FIP are minded, and they are confident they can ‘defend the statement in court’, their solicitors can put themselves up for another public thrashing by Neil Wilby (read more here). That local firm, Harold Stock and Co., has the necessary details to issue either a cease and desist letter or pre-action protocol letter, if they are so instructed.

This exclusive is plainly a story with plenty more to come: Follow Neil Wilby on Twitter (here) and Neil Wilby Media on Facebook (here) for updates.

Page last updated: Saturday 8th April, 2023 at 0615 hours

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Picture credit: Oldham Council

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2022. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

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

4 thoughts on “‘The Truth, whole truth and nothing but’ says mystery voice

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