Lib Dem leadership changes

Date published: 11 May 2011

The Liberal Democrat group in Rochdale has announced changes to its leadership.

Councillor Wera Hobhouse will take over from Councillor Irene Davidson as the Leader of the group and Councillor Zulfiqar Ali will take over from Councillor Dale Mulgrew as the Deputy Leader of the group.

Councillor Hobhouse has been a Councillor in the Norden since 2004 and Councillor Ali has been a Councillor for Central Ward since 1998 and is the outgoing Mayor.

The move comes following a difficult year for the Lib Dems. Towards the back end of 2010 seven members broke away and formed the short-lived Independent Alliance group. A further three Councillors have since defected to the Conservative party. The group also suffered heavily on election night.

Councillor Hobhouse, said: “Now it's the time for the Liberal Democrats in Rochdale Borough to turn over to a new page. Nationally and locally we have been through some very tough months. I will build a new team of committed Liberal Democrats that will re-build trust and confidence with our electorate.”

She continued: “All parties have their electoral good times and bad times, what keeps us going in one or the other party is what we actually stand for.

“I am a proud Liberal Democrat despite our setbacks and obvious mistakes, because as a party we continue to deliver on our core beliefs of social justice, civil liberties, open government and empowering communities. And I know that there are many, many people in this borough who will come out and support us again.

“I thank the outgoing Leader Irene Davidson for all her hard work during this difficult time. We are moving forward as a team and if we get it right we will come back better and stronger."

The new Deputy Leader, Councillor Ali, added: “I hope that we can open a new chapter and move forward. We are obviously concerned about some of the national policies and we need to learn from our past mistakes. We need to work together for the good of our borough.”

Outgoing Leader, Councillor Davidson, said: “I wish the new leadership all the luck in the world – they are going to need it.”

The outgoing Deputy Leader, Councillor Dale Mulgrew, said: “I am delighted that we have a new and vibrant leadership team and this is time for a fresh start for the Liberal Democrats in Rochdale.

“I personally decided to stand down a couple of weeks ago before the elections because I want to spend more time with my family and the last few months have clearly been challenging.”

Councillor Mulgrew said that the new appointments “herald a new era” for the group and he is looking forward to working as a “united team.”

The Leader of the Labour group, Councillor Colin Lambert described the incoming leadership team as “the two captains of the Titanic,” who have been “brought in to clear the deck.”

The Leader of the Conservative group, Councillor Ashley Dearnley said: “It is up to the Liberal Democrats who they choose to be Leader and Deputy Leader, it is nothing to do with any other party, but, I just hope that they want to work for the benefit of the borough because the divisions are not to the benefit of anyone.”

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