Former Lib Dem joins Tory party

Date published: 17 March 2011

A Rochdale Councillor who quit the Liberal Democrat party in December has joined the Conservative Party.

Milkstone and Deeplish ward Councillor Mohammad Sharif resigned from the Liberal Democrats following a string of departures from the party which led to the collapse of the then Liberal Democrat/Conservative run council.

Councillor Sharif accused the Liberal Democrats of racism in his resignation letter.

Today (Thursday 17 March 2011) he announced his decision to join the Conservative Party, led by Councillor Ashley Dearnley.

Councillor Sharif said he chose the party because the Liberal Democrats and Labour “fail to address” BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) issues.

He said that residents in Milkstone and Deeplish are “fed up” with Labour and the Liberal Democrats, adding that the Liberal Democrats are dictated by one person with “very weak leadership.”

Councillor Sharif said: “Labour and Liberal Democrats fail to deliver anything in Milkstone and Deeplish except promises.”

He continued: “[The] local Conservative Party want to work with the BME community to prove that they love to work with all the communities and try to resolve the problems local people [are] facing.”

The Leader of the party, Councillor Ashley Dearnley, welcomed Councillor Sharif, he said: “I am pleased we are getting new members to the party, we welcome people from all communities.

“The Conservative Party represents all areas of Rochdale.

Norden Councillor, Ann Metcalfe, said she was “delighted” that Councillor Sharif has joined the Tory group.

She said: “I am sure he has got a tremendous amount to offer to the party. I have known him ever since he became a councillor and he has always been helpful and hard working.”

The Leader of Rochdale Council and Leader of the Labour Party, Councillor Colin Lambert said: “All I can say is the Conservatives are welcome to him.

“I am sure he will bring focus to their party which will be as decisive as it was to the Lib Dems.”

The Leader of the Independent Alliance Party, Councillor Greg Couzens, said: “I have worked closely with Mohammad Sharif, he is a good hard working councillor.

“It is a shame about the demise of the original Lib Dem team, but that’s politics.

“I wish him all the best.” 

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Councillor Irene Davidson was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.

Do you have a story for us?

Let us know by emailing
All contact will be treated in confidence.

To contact the Rochdale Online news desk, email or visit our news submission page.

To get the latest news on your desktop or mobile, follow Rochdale Online on Twitter and Facebook.

While you are here...

...we have a small favour to ask; would you support Rochdale Online and join other residents making a contribution, from just £3 per month?

Rochdale Online offers completely independent local journalism with free access. If you enjoy the independent news and other free services we offer (event listings and free community websites for example), please consider supporting us financially and help Rochdale Online to continue to provide local engaging content for years to come. Thank you.

Support Rochdale Online