Councillor’s Facebook page hijacked by former Party colleague, he says

Screenshot 2023-04-12 at 07.25.03

A controversial split in an East Manchester hyper-local political party, exclusively and progressively revealed by Neil Wilby Media over the past five weeks (read more here), took several new turns yesterday.

Firstly, the Chair of the Failsworth Independent Party (FIP), Cllr Brian Hobin (Failsworth East), revealed that his councillor Facebook account was being controlled by an agent of his former colleague, Cllr Mark Wilkinson (Failsworth West). Named as former soldier, Chris Ryan.

Both sit, for the time being at least, under the FIP flag on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council where Cllr Hobin is also FIP Group Leader. He recently took over as Chair from Kathleen Wilkinson, Mark’s wife. The Wilkinsons founded FIP in September, 2019.

Cllr Wilkinson, along with another FIP councillor, Sandra Ball, resigned from the Party last week and both will stand as independents in next month’s local elections.

In what has devolved into an ugly East v West war, Brian Hobin, against a previous agreement between the two factions, has fielded a ‘cut-throat’ candidate, retired police officer, Jane Cashinella-Vaughan, in the West ward. Against Cllrs Ball and Wilkinson (read more here).

Secondly, a notorious, unemployed, Tameside-based conspiracy theorist, Raja Miah, remarkably revealed earlier in the week as a mediator in the dispute, turned his supporters firmly against Brian Hobin, claiming he had been betrayed by the East councillor, placing, Miah says, the whole independent movement he purports to lead at risk: The Failsworth Independent Party being held up, previously, as the shining example, and model, of what could be achieved if like-minded people banded together with a common aim of dislodging the Labour-held Oldham Council.

Bradford-born Miah, during an emergency transmission on his frequently banned Recusant Nine YouTube platform yesterday – and later on the associated Facebook page – accused Cllr Hobin of being a liar and a cheat, probably correctly on this occasion – and, moreover, a self-serving Labour puppet and supporting senior paid council officers whom, Miah continues to allege, ‘covered up the rape of working class white girls by Pakistani grooming gangs’. A claim for which Miah is yet to provide a scrap of evidence. For almost three years, Brian Hobin had campaigned against the same alleged ‘cover up’.

The battle lines between East and West are now marked by an indelible line in the sand: With Miah’s supporters, an unpleasant collection of cranks, misfits, axe-grinders and anti-Labour malcontents, whom self style as The Rabble (or Raja’s Rabble) set to train their internet stalking and trolling on Cllr Hobin and his two colleagues, Cllr Lucia Rea and Cllr Neil Hindle. Whom, before the dispute arose could all have expected to comfortably retain their seats in a FIP stronghold.

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: Wednesday 12th April, 2023 at 0855 hours

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Published by Neil Wilby

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

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