Six Rochdale Lib Dem councillors resign over leadership

From BBC News Manchester:

Six Liberal Democrat councillors in Rochdale have resigned from the party in protest over its leadership nationally and locally.

Pat and Ted Flynn, Peter Davison, Doreen Brophy Lee, Barbara Todd and Naim Mahmood will sit as independents.

Councillor Pat Flynn said the party was “doing too many U-turns”.

Councillor Dale Mulgrew, deputy leader of Rochdale Lib Dems, said the resignations were part of a dispute over the party’s selection process.

Two of the councillors had been deselected by the party ahead of next year’s local elections.

Rochdale Council is led by a coalition of Liberal Democrats and Conservatives.

Read the full story here.

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  • The should form a local Independant Liberal Democrats group. Wait till Monday. Rochdale Council will be an Independant/Labour coalition. Watch…

  • @Larry

    Let’s hope this is a portent of what may happen to the national coalition.

  • It looks as if we are witnessing the Folkestoneisation of yet another council group. A strong, effective party leader might be able to stop this kind of thing, just as he might have stopped Lembit making a fool of himself in public. Trouble is, we don’t have a leader at the moment, we have someone who was elected as leader (on a false prospectus) and has subsequently abdicated that role in favour of making tea for David Cameron.

    No, Matt. Resigning is absolutely not the way to defeat Clegg. You do that by remaining in the party and fighting for what you believe. Resignation (from a council group) amounts to a betrayal not just of the people who elected you but all Liberal Democrat voters and supporters.

  • Reading into it a little bit, I think that there may be more to this than meets the eye. These councillors were obviously reasonably happy to do business with the Tories, the council couldn’t have been run by a Tory/LibDem coaltion if six Lib Dem councillors had been so unhappy with cooperation with the Conservatives. Two of them had also been de-selected. It sounds to me like this may be a little bit personal.

    That said, it says a lot about the state that our party that I can look at this story without being surprised that prominent members are resigning ostensibly over the direction in which the leadership are taking the party. I even sympathise (although I am not resigning). We’re not in a good place.

  • The fact that they haven’t moved to Labour though says something

  • Seems to be a little more going on here behind the scenes than just disatisfaction with the national leadership to me.

    Anyway. I’m a relatively new member, nearly 2 years, but I see a loyalty to the party (as Sesenco says) and can disagree openly with matters I don’t like in direction nationally and pressure accordingly. That is what I also like about the Lib Dems is that we are not all sheep to be lead and can have open frank discussions about matters in which we disagree but do still have common beliefs.

  • @John

    What is says to me is that they haven’t left the party, the party has left them.

  • Sesenco if Nick is being kept too busy or isn’t being an effective leader then why isn’t Simon stepping into the gap?
    Also the only way to stop Lembit making a fool of himself would be to encase his feet in concrete, then gag him and keep him locked in a dark cupboard in Cowley Street.
    But I do agree with you about party loyalty it’s not just Nick’s party it’s mine too, I don’t agree with everything that’s going on but I’m not going to give up on the Lib Dems.

  • Sesenco – you seem to know a thing or two about Gosport from your earlier comment. And assuming you feel Paddy was a ‘strong leader” (as most people would say), he couldn’t stop that party blowing itself to shreds, could he?

  • Anthony Aloysius St 19th Nov '10 - 5:57pm


    Thanks for filling us in with what’s (no doubt) a completely impartial account of the inside story.

    Considering they are such a bunch of backstabbing toerags, it is a bit surprising that the deputy leader of the Lib Dem group paid tribute to their “many dedicated and loyal years of service” to the party. But no doubt there was some reason for it.

  • Tony Dawson 19th Nov '10 - 5:59pm

    Larry: “Wait till Monday. Rochdale Council will be an Independant/Labour coalition.”

    I know that Labour in that area has drifted to the Right but surely not to the Right of the Tories. Or has Phil Woolas been rubbing off on his neighbours in Rochdale?

  • David Allen 19th Nov '10 - 6:00pm


    “I certainly have not heard of anyone calling for his resignation and putting wheels in motion for a vote.”

    I understand your scepticism. Well, I (paid-up LD activist since 1981) would certainly like to see Clegg resign. Sadly, I do not think the membership as a whole is yet ready to force him out. So I think we will be into internal debate rather than a putsch for some time yet. However, the mood is shifting in our direction, and I doubt whether the coalition will last its full five years. I just hope there is still a party there to rescue, when it eventually comes to its senses!

    But you do worry me. I look at the Old Labourites after Blair’s right-wing takeover of their party. (Not that I share many of their beliefs, but I do feel their pain!) They grumbled on for many many years, but did nothing at all effective to stop Blairism. Indeed, Blair just kept moving further to the right as time went on. I don’t want to see the centre-left Lib Dems reduced to a similar state of impotent rage by Nick and the Cleggies..

  • paul barker 19th Nov '10 - 6:28pm

    Sorry to spoil the fun but this sort of thing happens quite often in local Politics, in all Parties but it only gets National coverage when it chimes with a strong National “narrative”, as in this case. This is just Political Life as normal.

  • All is well.

    Rochdale has never had it so good.

  • 2 of the 6 had been de-selected. If you look at the defections from the Lib dems in the last few months, de-selection or looming de-selection or personal issues within the group are usually behind the defections. Not always of course.
    As for Nick as Leader, we still need a bit of a time for both Nick and the rest of us to get over the shock of being in government and the implications for the future. Hopefully Tim Farron can show some leadership and start pulling us through the worst of the resulting turmoil. Personally I’m prepared to hang on in there for the next few months and see how I feel by Spring Conference. No intention of resigning, more seeing how I feel about whether there is a need to start taking our party back – or whether actually it has never been taken away from us.

  • I think it’s normal! Some people fall out with others, some people don’t do any work and that annoys others. Or they won’t make any financial contribution to their leaflets when others do (and not through financial hardship) etc etc. It goes on all the time, but only hits the headlines at times like this.

  • Peter B – I think many are already recognising that. Are they in your area?

  • we still need a bit of a time for both Nick and the rest of us to get over the shock of being in government and the implications for the future

    Well I suggest you hurry up quick smart because if this is allowed to continue a whole raft of right wing polices are being introduced which do nothing but hurt the most vulnerable in our society. I fear that once the LibDems “get over the shock” and finally open their eyes they will have another shock when they realise just how society has changed, how it treats the less fortunate and that they are being held accountable for it. so stop bloody sleepwalking and try to save the party

  • Emsworthian 20th Nov '10 - 1:22pm

    There is usually some pretty turgid local factors behind these desertions
    so it may not be a case of the first few slates off the roof.
    Isn’t Rochdale somewhere near Oldham?

  • Poppie's mum 20th Nov '10 - 2:52pm

    Well done to the six if they are being honest.

    If it is just fear of losing in their wards, and self interest is at the root of their resigning then they are just as bad as Clegg, Alexander and Cable.

  • @MrsB

    “As for Nick as Leader, we still need a bit of a time for both Nick and the rest of us to get over the shock of being in government and the implications for the future.”

    Yeah, that’s fine. Take your time – there’s no need to rush.

  • Poppie's mum 20th Nov '10 - 4:22pm

    MrsB @“As for Nick as Leader, we still need a bit of a time for both Nick and the rest of us to get over the shock of being in government and the implications for the future.”

    You’ll probably just be getting over the shock by the time the country votes the Lib Dems back into oblivion.

  • Tim13, Peter B,

    Important point. MORI have found that it is cuts to council services which worry the public more than anything else. Lib Dem councillors implementing Lib Dem Coalition cuts are in for a rough ride next May.

  • Cameron made a lot of expensive election pledges to pensioners. Somehow, the Coalition has found the money from somewhere to meet those pledges. It just so happened that the money ran out when it came to meeting Lib Dem pledges on tuition fees….

    Why the difference? Because Cameron cares about his party’s popularity. Whereas Clegg has no long-term plans to maintain the Lib Dems as a truly independent party which goes out and wins votes on its own.

  • Cllr Adrian Miners 25th Nov '10 - 5:16pm

    As someone not a member of the Liberal Democrats….but still a member of the Liberal Party, I freely admit that at the General Election I voted Lib Dem….because there wasn’t a local alternative and I didn’t want to waste my vote.
    As someone who joined the Libs in the early 70’s and got elected in 1980 – I’ve endured much political pain in preserving ‘liberalism’ and I can fully understand the frustrations many Lib Dems face.
    I was somewhat shocked by the coalition statement – but understood the requirement to do something positive.
    I personally hoped/wished the coalition well, but the short time it has existed has been sadly disappointing.
    I won’t dwell on the politics….What has been sad to see are good ‘liberals’ on the government benches behaving like nodding churchill dogs and the distinct lack of good ‘liberal’ alternatives being promoted.
    The coalition is suppose to be a two-party creature….at the moment there is no mistaking which is the bulldog and which is the poodle!
    Kind Regards,
    Cllr Adrian Miners

  • toryboysnevergrowup 25th Nov '10 - 8:01pm

    Now seven and counting. Good to see that Rochdale is setting an example for the country as a whole – LibDems falling apart and a ConDem coalition losing its majority and hopefully out on its ear in short order.

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