Excl: Rochdale sec resigns over non-suspension of accused council leader. Full resignation letter


Last night, Rochdale Momentum sent out the following tweet:

The SKWAWKBOX has covered allegations against Rochdale Council leader Richard Farnell – which he has denied – that he knew about abuse of children at Knowl View in Rochdale and did not report it.

Mr Farnell has also been accused by former senior councillor Peter Joinson, in formal testimony to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) of ‘not telling the truth’ to the inquiry about what he knew:


Those allegations have been echoed by other witnesses to the inquiry, prompting an ITV journalist to ask the council leader:

Now, amid allegations that supporters of Cllr Farnell attempted to prevent a vote on a motion by the CLP (constituency Labour party) calling for his suspension, the Secretary of the CLP has resigned after sending the following letter to CLP members, which the SKWAWKBOX brings you exclusively:

Hi everyone,

I am sorry to have to report that I have resigned as Secretary of Rochdale CLP.

I am no longer able to be part of a local leadership that has defended Simon Danczuk, voted for 34% councillor allowances in a time of austerity and now, most importantly, defend the current Council Leader of Rochdale Council around the issue of CSA.  On many occasions, the membership has tried to voice their concerns to reflect these issues and have been met with censorship and manoeuvering, rather than political debate.

I believe that we have not shown local victims of CSA that the local Party supports them, despite the various members’ resolutions across the borough calling the National Party to act.  This lack of support is compounded by the National Party in not suspending the Leader, given the evidence, while an investigation takes place as happens in the case of any professional.  This lack of action from the Party over the Inquiry is putting unnecessary public and personal pressure on myself and other members who are facing the wrath of the public after having seen and heard the evidence.  This lack of action is sending out the wrong signals to the public but especially to the victims, who are the most important people in the Inquiry, who have stated their views publicly on a number of occasions that they wish the Party to act.  I do not want to be a party to this inaction.  These are the political reasons for my resignation.

I am unable to email the Chair as she is not on email.  This has caused me considerable difficulties being unable to communicate with the Chair over these past nine months.  I have been in the Labour Party recently for two years and would have appreciated assistance from the Chair with such a huge task.  As a teacher myself, as was the Chair, I know that you are required to be fairly competent with IT and how emails are set up.  In fact, it would be difficult to do the job without having an email account.  I have had to call the Chair’s landline, mobile and texted which were often not answered and often at crucial times.  I think it should be compulsory for the Chair to have an email address in future.  I have also assisted with the Membership Officer role on many occasions and I now find myself having taken on the job of Contact Creator Coordinator for the CLP.  These are the logistical reasons for my resignation.

I will continue to be a member of the Party and do all in my power to help get a Labour Government led by Jeremy Corbyn into No. 10.

The fact that Cllr Farnell is not on administrative suspension while these matters are investigated when other Labour figures have been immediately and even hastily suspended – especially in a case of such serious allegations – will reinforce the perception of many members that Labour HQ’s disciplinary procedures are factionally applied.

The Labour Party needs to act promptly to ensure that it not only acts correctly but is seen to do so – and a thorough restructuring of the party’s bureaucracy, still dominated by the so-called moderates, looks a matter of more pressing importance than ever.

Rochdale Council declined to comment, saying that it was a matter for the Labour Party. Labour has been contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

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  1. I am afraid Labour North west are very selective who they act against. this needs to be sorted. Then the party nationally needs to be restructured from the top. As for now the party has lost what seems to be a good hardworking secretary. This is nothing unusual about the party as they seem to treat the hard working members with didane. Until this changes people the party need will walk away.

  2. Too many times has the ‘old guard’ of the Labour Party acted as a body of protection for senior Labour Party members who hold positions of power when the have been accused of infidelity of one kind or another! This is just another example of how what was once a ‘new guard’ rapidly becomes corrupted by the trappings that any type of leadership post is surrounded by and becomes the ‘Old Guard’ In itself, being a part of the ‘Old Guard’ is not wrong however, when such an ‘Old Guard’ then becomes so arrogant that it refuses to even address any of the membership’s concerns and acts as if the procedures, which are there to cover everybody, do not apply to them when they hold Leadership posts, strong measures must be applied to them! However, this has always been an historical difficulty, which Labour has never really been able to overcome! Unfortunately, the various senior Leaderships of the Party, both local and National invariably seem to become somewhat idolised and put on pedestals so that they end up as thinking themselves ‘better than the ordinary working member and therefore unchallengeable! This type of attitude, which is anti-working class, anti-socialist and downright Tory is, too many times supported by the Labour Party Machine which controls the rules and regulations of the Party and their application! It is a phenomenon of aspiring and getting position! One feels as though, with very few exceptions, that they are some how above the masses rather than part of the masses! Thus one gets the likes of Councillor Farnell and the likes of those around him who protect him! Until a more open and genuine structure is applied through Labour this sort of thing is likely to continue! Personally, as an ordinary Left activist I am always suspicious of those who stand for position, for, let’s face it, the PLP is a case in point of a body of people, with some few, very few, exceptions, who behave and speak as if they are way out of the ordinary Labour Party members league and, therefore, should not be held to account! Unfortunately, this is reflected, to a lesser or greater extent, throughout the Labour Party’s structure! I do understand that other Political Parties are prone to such corruptions by their Leaderships but, if, as it claims, the Labour Party is a Socialist Party then one of it’s supporting pillars should be that they don’t act like the rest! That is, if/when a Party member rises to position and begins to act in such an arrogant form whereby they are ignoring the wishes of the membership they should be easily brought to ‘book’ and not be considered above the strictures of the Party! As an aside, I offer my congratulations to the Rochdale CLP Secretary for resigning her post because I think that she is far more likely to do good Left political work by being an ordinary active member rather than attempting to be a Party member in a position where the compromises which are made include not vigorously challenging those Labour Councillors and such like if and when they overstep the mark because it maybe seen or assumed that such challenges, if effective, might undermine the Party’s electoral position! That’s when honesty and honour go out of the window and corrosive cynicism begins to take hold thus, destroying the trust of the electorate which supports Labour! This type of cynicism was reflected in Neil Kinnock’s attitude when he attempted to denounce the Left both in and outside the Labour Party, with the words, ‘what’s the use of principles without power?’ Well, Kinnock, sadly but not unusually, failed to address the question ‘but what is the use of power without principles! I would suggest that the answer to that is illustrated very clearly by the behaviour of this present Tory Government and other Government’s including the war criminal’s Blairs Government which are and did use their power without any sort of principles other than to gain wealth, position and so on, for themselves at the expense of the peoples of the UK!

    1. Kinnock was truly dreadful.

      However, could you please use paragraphs.

      Thank you.

  3. No email address??

    WT absolute F is she (Chairwoman) doing in the position then – and WHY was that allowed?

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