Labour accused of ‘cronyism’ after latest Wigan charity appointment

Labour have been accused of cronyism and bias in their “latest political stunt”, according to the Conservatives after a controversial vote.

The opposition party claim they were left “disappointed” by a decision to appoint Labour’s Coun Laura Flynn as a trustee for the Standish United Charity, a full council meeting heard.

The charity has no Conservative representatives on its board, despite the Standish ward being controlled by the Tories, and the opposition party had hoped to install the Tory councillor for Standish, Ray Whittingham, on the trustee committee.

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But Michael Winstanley, chairman of the Wigan Conservative Federation and former councillor and Wigan mayor, was left fuming by what he considered to be “complete contempt for the people of Standish”.

“I’m not surprised because last year there was a place on the trustee committee and they chose Coun Debbie Parkinson over me,” Coun Whittingham said. “The same has happened again. I have nothing against Coun Flynn as it wasn’t her doing because she was proposed by the cabinet.

“They talk about cross-party unity, but this is just voting on a charity. It stinks, it is like cronyism.

“I don’t see why councillors should vote on something they know nothing about. I’m sure many of them have never heard of this charity.”

Coun Laura FlynnCoun Laura Flynn
Coun Laura Flynn
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Standish United Charity helps support people in their ward and raise money for grants and schemes in the local area. The Conservatives requested a named vote on the issue and were unable to speak after the decision – something that left them disgruntled.

But Coun Chris Ready, a Labour member of the cabinet, said: “Coun Flynn will be an excellent trustee of Standish United Charity. She lives in Standish, grew up in Standish, volunteers in Standish and represents residents in the east of Standish on the Council.

“She has previous experience as a charity trustee and is a current school governor; we were very pleased to nominate her.”

Mr Winstanley said it was “unsurprising” to see this from Labour. “It is quite clear that the best person for this job was Coun Whittingham, who has Standish running through him like a stick of rock”, he stated.