Mayor-elect tries to get health campaigner sacked!

April 2, 2008 12:00 AM

Senior Lib Dems in Rochdale have slammed Mayor-elect Councillor Robin Parker for trying to get Councillor Jean Ashworth sacked from her job. The Lib Dems have reported Councillor Parker to the Standards Board of England under Sections 5 and 6 of the Local Authorities (Model Code of Conduct) Order 2007. Councillor Parker has been involved in a concerted effort to get Councillor Ashworth sacked from her position as a nurse at Rochdale Infirmary. He emailed health bosses citing the case of Karen Reissman, who was sacked last year for criticising mental health provision in Manchester.

Councillor Parker's initial email to the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust read: "Given that Karen Reissman was dismissed from the Mental Health Trust for criticising the reorganisation plans in public, how come the PAHT tolerates continued attacks on it from its own staff, Jean Ashworth, in her Councillors Diaries on Rochdale Online?" This was the first of a series of emails attempting to destroy Councillor Ashworth's livelihood.

Now Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has stepped in and is calling for the Standard's Board to intervene and take action. It is suggested that Councillor Parker could even be suspended as a Councillor. Local Lib Dems believe that Councillor Parker, who represents West Middleton, has held a grudge against Councillor Ashworth since losing an election in Smallbridge and Firgrove back in 2004.

Paul Rowen said: "Having read the exchange of emails, I am absolutely disgusted at his behaviour. His actions are a disgrace to local politics and I am asking the Labour Group to remove his Whip until the outcome of the investigation. Yes, we all have disagreements in politics but to try and get her sacked is appalling.

"Jean led the campaign against vital services being lost at Rochdale Infirmary. She is a well respected, caring nurse at the Infirmary who speaks her mind. She has a track record of campaigning to improve our health services.

"This type of bullying, aggressive behaviour should not be tolerated and I feel in the light of the publication of his crude attempt to get Jean sacked - he should consider whether he is the type of person fit to represent our Borough."

Councillor Ashworth said that she was too upset to comment.

Health Bosses have confirmed that despite Councillor's Parker's protests, no action will be taken against Mrs Ashworth.