Councillorís plea to return to the fold
Reporter: Robbie MacDonald
Date online: 20 March 2014
A VETERAN councillor facing re-election in May has apologised - and is asking Labour to lift his nine-month suspension.
Hugh McDonald (72) was suspended by the party last year over leaked information understood to be about child safeguarding concerns. He has since continued his Alexandra ward activities as an independent
With only four weeks to the nomination deadline, Councillor McDonald has renewed his plea for the ban to be lifted.
An investigation launched last year resulted in a recent meeting with senior council officials at which Councillor McDonald admitted his actions and apologised. Councillor McDonald said: “We shook hands at the end and I viewed it as as the end of the matter.”
But Councillor McDonald is still waiting for his appeal against his Labour party suspension.
“This suspension has been hanging over me for nine months. Serious, criminal cases are dealt with more quickly by the high courts! I’ve admitted a minor breach but this suspension still goes on. My suspension appeal is pending,” he said.
“With the local elections approaching in May, all this has to be done before April. I wrote to the regional party earlier this week saying I need this dealt with as soon as possible.
“I’m not neglecting constituents. I’m still doing all my ward work and attending what meetings I can — except party meetings.”
Paul Entwistle, Oldham’s borough solicitor, wrote a report on the council’s website stating: “A complaint was made that Councillor McDonald breached the members’ code of conduct.
“The local resolution is an appropriate way of dealing with the complaint and the meeting recommends that members note the outcome of the matter.”
Born and raised in Oldham, Councillor McDonald joined the Labour party’s St Mary’s branch aged 18. He has represented Oldham at various periods since 1971.
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