Councillors form new Independent party

Date published: 03 December 2010

The seven Councillors who resigned from the Liberal Democrat party in Rochdale have formed their own party.

Councillors Ted and Pat Flynn from Castleton, Councillor Peter Davison from Castleton, Councillor Doreen Brophy-Lee from Heywood, Naim Mahmud from Kingsway, Barbara Todd and Greg Couzens from  Spotland and Falinge  will now work as the Independent Alliance Party.

The Leader of the Independent Alliance Party is Councillor Greg Couzens and the Deputy Leader is Councillor Doreen Brophy-Lee.

Councillor Greg Couzens said: “There are career politicians and politicians who want to make a difference to the borough.

“We are a collection of Councillors who are not career politicians but genuinely want to make a difference to the borough.”

Councillor Couzens added: “Anybody who is interested in what we have to say and what we have to do can contact us.

“Our passion is to bring the borough forward.”

Deputy Leader, Councillor Doreen Brophy-Lee said the formation of the new party was the best move, she said: “We couldn’t have carried on as we were.” Councillor Brophy-Lee said she is looking forward to her role as Deputy Leader and moving forward.

The Independent Alliance Party will be funded through contributions from the councillors’ allowances.   

Councillor Ted Flynn from Castleton said: “We haven’t done this to be awkward. We were dissatisfied with the leadership of the Liberal Democrats both locally and nationally.

“We will work with the other parties as long as they go down a sensible route.”

The Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Dale Mulgrew, said: "I think the public will be dismayed at this move and will wonder what the real motives of the seven are for doing this? There are many questions to be answered, such as whether the newly formed group will be taking thousands of pounds out of the public purse, which they will be entitled, to fund their new group? At a time when the Council is having to make tough decisions over jobs and pay it would be irresponsible to be taking even more resources away from the Council .  Once more they are acting in their own self interests, with no consideration of what is best for the borough."

The Leader of the Conservative party, Councillor Ashley Dearnley said: “I look forward to working with the Independent Party. There are very difficult times ahead with the need to reduce spending across the council and regardless if they are Independent or part of a party we need to work together to achieve that.

“I welcome the involvement of the Independents and I look forward to working with them, especially their Leader.”

The Leader of the Labour Party, Councillor Colin Lambert, said: “The Independent Alliance Party will be led by Councillor Greg Couzens, the Cabinet member for finance who has led on the cuts. The Deputy Leader will be Councillor Brophy-Lee who has publicly criticised the cuts Councillor Couzens put forward for phase one and phase two.

"It should lead to some interesting meetings between them, before they can be considered to taken seriously they must tell everyone what they stand for and which cuts they support and which they will oppose and how they intend to oppose such cuts with an alternative budget proposal.

“I think the first meeting with them will be interesting.”

The Leader of the new party is expected to meet with the Leaders of the other parties in Rochdale on Monday.

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