Fall-out over Tory selection meeting in Oldham

From the Oldham Evening Chronicle:

A selection meeting sparked a huge fall-out amid allegations of threats and candidate rigging.

Oldham East and Saddleworth Conservatives chairman Barbara Jackson will stand down in protest, while former Councillor Chris Shyne called it a farce after only five candidates stood for five seats.

But North-West leaders insisted they are “a lone voice” and that the party is fully behind the selections.

Barrister Kashif Ali was chosen to fight Labour’s Phil Woolas for the Oldham East and Saddleworth seat with Kamran Ghafoor taking on Labour’s Michael Meacher for the Oldham West and Royton seat.

Traditionalists have been angered by Mr Cameron’s plans to take control of shortlists to impose women and ethnic minority candidates to boost their numbers in Parliament.

Mrs Jackson, an active member for 30 years, claimed two candidates were removed from the selection list at the last minute and others weren’t allowed to stand.

She claimed Mr Ali had threatened management that he would recruit family as members to take over the association if he was not selected.

You can read the full report here.

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  • No, it wasn’t Oldham. There was a pact in Bolton and a pact in Huddersfield. We lost both seats in 1964 when the pacts ended, in Bolton anyway as a result of us deciding to contest the Bolton East by-election in 1960.

  • Tony Greaves 2nd Jan '10 - 8:58pm

    And at the 1964 election the Liberal Party went from 7 to 9 seats. Lost Bolton W and Huddersfield W, gained Bodmin (the dreadful man Bessell), Caithness & Sutherland (MNF George Mackie), Inverness (Russell Johnston), and Ross & Cromarty (Alasdair Mackenzie).

    If the Tories have imposed a decision to put up two Asian Muslim candidates in Oldham, there are several things to ponder.

    (1) do they know what they are doing in the town that is probably the most clan-ridden and the most prone to shifting allegiances and dodgy electoral practices in the Asian community in the NW?

    (2) what do they think the electoral effects will be in the two seats.

    Quite apart from the impact on some of their members , no doubt for a number of different motives some less honourable than others, they may find they fall flat on their faces over this.

    Tony Greaves

  • Tony Greaves 2nd Jan '10 - 9:00pm

    Oh I forgot to add – Councillor Michael Steed is living in Canterbury where he was elected to the Council in a by-election. He’s been in his cottage in the Ariège over the holiday period.

    Tony Greaves

  • I lived here for 5 years from 2003/08 and I feel that Elwyn Watkins could well win this seat. The Tory party are not happy with the PMP they have been given, and a number will swith to UKIP or LibDem.
    Phil Woolas only has a lead of 3,000, and I think it is a must on any leaflet that is sent out that it shows Phil Woolas and Joanna Lumley, this alone will swing over 3,000 voters.


    I think the Tory party are handing Elwyn Watkins this seat on a plate.

  • Amongst LibDems at least, seeing Phil Woolas loose would equal Portillo in ’97

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