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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.


Time to retire gracefully?

Representative democracy, let alone regeneration, is surely ill served by the same people running the town over a period of more than 40 years ?

Child protection issue leading to suspension is very vague.

Looks like McMahon is determined to get rid of long standing Councillor Hugh McDonald. McMahon could have put a stop to this suspension weeks ago if he had wanted to. Seems dissent in the ranks will not be tolerated. Within weeks of sacking McDonald from the cabinet to replace him with Amanda Chadderton, Hugh was suspended from the Group. McMahon is modelling himself on Putin.

Councillor McDonald has devoted 50 years of his life to the people of Oldham and the Labour Party. He is a victim of Jim McMahon's out with the old and in with the new philosophy. People like Hughie are the ones that make Oldham great. You've got forty years hard work and devotion to your constituents Jim before you can be considered equal if ever to Hughie. The Labour Party should be ashamed about the way they have treated our much loved councillor

Another politician who cannot be trusted, labour can say goodbye to my vote.

Mr McDonald is a gentleman helpful and a good man I can speak from my experience. The behavior by his party is being very petty in the extreme, he has been an asset to all of Oldham. Never retire, carry on helping others as you have always done.

Cllr Macdonald a good,and decent man has been treated dreadfully. the Leader of our Council needs some explaining to do.what are these 'child safeguarding concerns'?.i want to know how to vote in may.so now we know why the local labour party,and nationally is'nt concerned with pensioners.is his replacement one of the 'yes'girls.pensioners vote Mr McMahon don't they.

If it's all Mr McMahons fault. Why is Mr McDonald apologising. Looks like the only person he is interested in protecting is himself.
Mr McDonald made his own bed. Not Mr McMahon.
Would someone kindly explain what child protection issues has he breached? I think until the general public are not made aware if the facts it is unfair to mention any other person. Thanks to the Chron for showing a picture of Mr MacDonald as his constituent I almost forgot what he looked like. "Good riddance"

Hang on a minute, you're all missing the point that he broke rules and leaked sensitive information to the public domain. Given that the subject is child protection is extremely serious. I don't for one minute think this would Jim McMahons decision alone anyway. It suggest he is suspended from the Labour Party as a whole not just Oldham. To compare someone to Putin is crass and stupid. He committed an offence, he is not being treated differently to any of us in any industry who did the same

Hang on a minute Bramble, where does it say in this article that he leaked sensitive information? And breaking the code of conduct is hardly an 'offence'. ! Without the facts how do you know he is not being treated differently to the rest of us?

Note to Bramble. What evidence have you that McDonald leaked sensitive information about child protection. It is 9 months since the supposed leak, please point us to the press story about your alleged leak. Don't think you will find anything to back up your allegations.

Well design970 might want to explain why is Mr McDonald apologising? No smoke without fire. He is one of 60 people that represent us. If he has no respect if the code if conduct and no respect of child issues how can he have any respect for us?
I think he should tell us what exactly he has done and let us decide for ourselves. I think it's a bit late in the day to be keeping quiet. I find it ironic that he can't speak up for himself but wants to be the voice of the people.

@design970 and @gladys - "suspended by the party last year over leaked information understood to be about child safeguarding" - this direct quote seems to answer your questions!! Also said he admitted his actions. I never said there was a press story but he obviously passed private info on to someone or why would he admit he did something wrong?

Presumably Cllr McDonald cannot comment until his Appeal Hearing is over. This is a quasi- judicial process like an appeal against dismissal at work. If he comments now , he will be charged with bringing the Labour Party into disrepute and therefore back to square one


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