Friday, 3 October 2014

Rochdale Council Boss Asked to Step Down

BECAUSE of his period in office as leader of Rochdale Council up to 1992 Richard Farnell who took over against as Council leader last May has been asked to stand down by the prospective Liberal- Democratic parliamentary candidate for Rochdale, Andy Kelly.  Mr. Farnell was the leader of Rochdale Council in the early 1990s at a time when reports were produced about child abuse at Knowl View residental school for boys.  Mr. Farnell has recently insisted that he knew nothing of these reports at the time he was in office.

Mr. Kelly, who was until last May a Milnrow councillor, said:
'It is worrying for Rochdale that Ed Miliband refused twice in the glare of the public spotlight to support Richard Farnell as Rochdale Council leader.  Given Ed Miliband's very vocal stance on Rotherham, I am now seeking his view on the Rochdale situation.  It does appear odd that the council leader denies knowledge of not one or two council reports, but three reports on Knowl View written during his first time as council leader.  The current Labour approach needs an intervention from Mr. Miliband for the confidence of the Rochdale public.  I think it would be better for all parties if Coun. Farnell stepped down for the duration of the investigation.'

The Rochdale Observer tried to contact Mr. Miliband's office but he was not available for comment before the Observer went to press.  Councillor Farnell declined to comment when approached by the Observer.

Earlier this year Richard Farnell took over the leadership of Rochdale Council from the then leader Colin Lambert, following an internal party coup.  At that time, Jim Dobbin, then the MP for Heywood and Middleton, told Northern Voices that he thought that throwing Mr. Lambert out and installing the new leader to run the Council was 'unwise'.

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