Hope in bid to remove councillor
Reporter: KEN BENNETT
Date published: 05 May 2016
DELEGATION . . . from left Councillor Nicola Kirkham, Holly Wood, MP Debbie Abrahams and parish councillor Robert Knotts outside the House of Commons
A DELEGATION fighting to remove a shamed Saddleworth parish councillor from office had a “productive and encouraging” meeting with a top Government minister yesterday.
Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, secured the meeting with the justice minister, Marcus Jones, to highlight Mike Buckley’s refusal to step down after being found guilty of downloading indecent images of naked boys on his computer.
She was joined by OMBC and Saddleworth independent parish councillor Nicola Kirkham, her parish council independent colleague Robert Knotts, Neil Allsopp, the parish council chair, and community campaigner Holly Wood.
Mrs Abrahams said: “The fact a convicted child sex offender can continue to serve in a position of authority on a local council is an issue of great concern to the majority of people, not just in Saddleworth but across the whole country.
“Prior to our meeting, Government had already indicated, in response to my questions on the issue, they are considering a consultation about bringing legislative rules into line with modern sentencing guidelines.
“Today the minister reiterated that intention, saying the consultation process will start in the summer.
“That’s why I organised this meeting to keep the pressure up on Government to make sure they follow through on these promises to take action.
“ I am pleased that the minister’s response was productive and encouraging.” Cllrs Kirkham and Knotts said:”We discussed all the issues associated with Mike Buckley, and his refusal to resign.
“The minister explored and discussed various options that can be applied.”
Airline executive Holly Wood said:” I was pleased to hear the minister was as shocked as myself that Cllr Buckley hasn’t just resigned, morally.”
“This issue with Cllr Buckley has been discussed within the Government and the shadow cabinet, and all are in agreement that the loophole needs to be changed and it will be looked into as a consultation.
“I am very positive about the future. We do not want this man to represent us.”
Parish council chair Allsopp said:” After the meeting, the Government and House of Commons could now become involved.
“The stakes have been raised. This is not over – not by a long chalk.”