Tories hold on to group status

Date published: 21 June 2010

The smallest group on Oldham Council has managed to hang on to its offices and part-time researcher — despite losing numbers.

Oldham Conservatives lost a seat at the elections when Phil Rogers was defeated, and former Tory councillor Ian Barker became an Independent earlier this year after being cleared by police of misuse of a council computer, although he has now joined the Greens. This means the Tory numbers have slipped from seven to five.

When the May elections left no party with overall control of Oldham Council, the Tories formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats to form the administration and take control.

Now the limit for recognition as a group, which used to be six councillors, has been dropped to four.

Councillor Jack Hulme, the Tory group leader, said: “I wouldn’t call it special dispensation. This resulted from a meeting with the three group leaders, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat.

“There is no national set standard of numbers for a group, it used to be six in Oldham but doesn’t mean it can’t be changed.”

Being classed as a group also means the Tories are consulted about council policy. Councillor Hulme has also become a member of the Cabinet, which shapes council policy, in charge of children and families.