Monday, 9 June 2014

A Crazy Coup!

LESS than a week ago the leadership of Rochdale MBC was taken over by Councillor Richard Farnell when he displaced Colin Lambert, the leader of the Council since 2010.  Both are Labour councillors respectively.  Last Wednesday, we learned of the Cabinet members and the assistant portfolio holders appointed by Councillor Farnell:  Councillor Brett (Agent to Simon Danczuk MP for Rochdale) took over finance; Councillor Iftikar Ahmed Adult Care; Public Health went to Councillor Cecile Biant; Community, Culture & Tourism to Councillor Daalat Ali; Corporate Services & Neighbourhoods to Councillor Neil Emmott; Children & Schools to Counc. Martin; Housing & Environment to Counc. Beswick and Business, Skills & Employment to Counc. Williams.  Most of these seem to be allies of Simon Danczuk M.P. for Rochdale.

But what at first seemed like a triumph for Farnell and Danczuk by last weekend was looking more like a political tragedy akin to Shakespeare's Macbeth.  Even last Wednesday night, after the full council meeting, it is rumoured that several councillors did not stay behind for the Mayor making ceremony:  some, it seems, left in disgust at Councillor Farnell's take over.

This weekend in the Manchester Evening News, the Heywood and Middleton MP, Jim Dobbin, has hit out at Councillor Farnell saying it was the wrong moment for him to be taking over in Rochdale.  Richard Farnell, who took power last week, was also leader in the early 1990s when the Knowl View sex abuse scandal in Rochdale was first being investigated and when the controversial reports into sexual abuse of boys at the school were being produced.

A council-commissioned enquiry is currently looking at whether there was a town hall cover-up.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Dobbin - who was Coun Farnell’s deputy at the time in question - said he had made a ‘bad move’ by taking over again now.

Sources close to Councillor Farnell have told Northern Voices that he is presently suffering nightmares, and hadn't anticipated all the attention from the media about what he knew about what was going on in the 1980s and 1990s, when he was last in power as leader of the council. 

Mr. Dobbin said:  'I don’t think it’s very wise at this particular time, particularly with the inquiry going on into Knowl View.  Richard was leader at the time these accusations were being made, so I don’t think it’s a very clever thing for Richard to do and if he had spoken to me about it I would have said so.'

Up to now Simon Danczuk the MP for Rochdale has defended Councillor Farnell saying that he is the object of a politically motivated 'smear campaign'.  But it is hard to see that the media are doing anything other than their job in asking questions. 

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