Saddleworth Parish Councillor Ken Hulme has given an angry reaction, after a complaint he made about Oldham Council Leader Howard Sykes was rejected by the local Standards Board.
Cllr Hulme issued a formal complaint regarding the way Cllr Sykes dealt with a public question from him at a council meeting in November. Cllr Hulme, an Independent, accused the Liberal Democrat of bullying and intimidation.
However, while a sub-committee of officials decided Cllr Sykes had been “robust” towards Cllr Hulme, they concluded he hadn’t breached the Code of Conduct. They took into account the fact that Cllr Hulme is himself a politician.
Cllr Sykes said he was “not surprised at the outcome.” He added: “This referral, in my view, was clearly frivolous. It is not the first time that Parish Councillor Hulme has sought to use similar tactics to either gag or restrict the actions of people who have differing views to his own.”
He went on: “I am sure the sub-committee recognised that his complaint was thin and lacking in substance, but it does go to show that the traditional tactics Labour employ to try and dispose of their opponents are well engrained within Mr Hulme – but then we shouldn’t be surprised, because after all he is ‘Labour in disguise.'”
Cllr Hulme told Saddleworth News he would be appealing the decision, describing it as “perverse and subjective.”
He commented: “The judgement says that you can have two standards for dealing with public questions. If Howard Sykes had responded to my question and I not been a parish councillor it would not have been acceptable. But since the reply was made to me double standards apply and it is acceptable to behave in this disgraceful manner because I am a parish councillor!”
Cllr Hulme added: “I’m a former member of the local Standards Board and this decision has no basis in local government law or in the Oldham Council constitution. You have to question how impartial and free from political bias our local Standards Board and those who advise it really are.”
Cllr Hulme is currently standing for re-election to Saddleworth Parish Council in the Delph ward. Three seats are available, and his four opponents are Lib Dems Louie Hamblett, Sharon McGladdery and Alan Roughley, and Independent Nicola Kirkham.
Cllr Hulme is also contesting the Oldham Council ward of Saddleworth North. He’s up against Sean Fielding of Labour, Lib Dem Derek Heffernan, and Conservative candidate Phil Sewell.