Beauty [just] beats the beasts
Labour held Spotland and Falinge with the glamorous Shefali Begum, partner of Councillor Farooq Ahmed, receiving 1123 votes. It was a close run thing for most of the count as Independent Carl Faulkner took all the parties by surprise by massively increasing his vote from last year to 902 votes. The Liberal Democrats polled 803 votes, Conservatives 309.
Health campaigner, and now former councillor, Jean Ashworth paid the price for her defection from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives as she was soundly beaten in Smallbridge and Firgrove - Amna Mir won for Labour with 1509 votes, Jean came a distant second with 654 votes. It is, however, unlikely she would have fared any better under the Liberal Democrat banner given the scale of their melt down. She said: “I am disappointed but the result was not unexpected.
"Nasty tactics have been employed by others and I don’t like the way that politics has gone, people come into it for the wrong reasons.
"It is time to bow out gracefully and get my life back; but you’ve not heard the last of me, I’ll be louder than ever and will still be campaigning for the hospital.”
Iftikhar Ahmed, in Central Rochdale, won by a staggering margin, he received 2,337 votes, compared to the Conservatives 280 and the Liberal Democrats 665. Iftikhar said: “It has been a team effort throughout all of the Labour party.”
Terry Linden stunned Mo Sharif into dazed silence winning Milkstone, he said: “I’ve put in a lot of hard work. I’m new to the ward and enjoy it there. There is a lot of work to be done in the ward and I will start on Tuesday.”
Watching proceedings and asked to comment, Councillor Dale Mulgrew (LD) said: “It is a pathetically low turn out which is disheartening.”
Ashley Dearnley retained his seat in Wardle and West Littleborough with 1569 votes. Labour received 536 votes and Liberal Democrats won a mere 153 votes.
As expected, husband and wife team, Jane and Jim Gartside retained their seats in Bamford and Norden.
The Labour party had a clean sweep winning all four seats in Middleton and all three seats in Heywood. Deputy leader Peter Williams said: “I am delighted with the result.”