Rebel councillors set up new party

Cllr Emma McGurrin
Cllr Emma McGurrin

TWO of Wigan’s most outspoken political figures have joined forces to set up a new party.

Standish former Labour Coun Emma McGurrin, former Standish Labour chairman Tom Morris and Hindley Green independent Bob Brierley have registered ‘Wigan Real Labour’ with the Electoral Commission (EC).

All three individually declined to comment to the Evening Post ahead of their party launch “press conference” which will be held in the near future but on an as yet undisclosed date.

However, the EC website registration reveals that Coun McGurrin is party leader and Mr Morris, who resigned from the Labour Party after 60 years service in protest at its treatment of Coun McGurrin, is treasurer.

Wigan Real Labour’s nominating officer is Coun Brierley and the official party base is his Thomas Street home in Hindley Green.

Sources suggest that Wigan Real Labour are targeting council leader Peter Smith, who is defending his long-held Leigh West seat in next month’s local authority elections.

Coun McGurrin herself will be defending the Standish seat from which Labour deselected her in favour of new candidates Debbie Parkinson.

Council leader and chief of the ruling Labour group Coun Peter Smith said: “This is an interesting combination of individuals who appear to have little in common except their referrals to standards committee and to local police.

“They appear to have just a name but no policies to put to voters and will have as little influence in the future as they have in the past.

“Perhaps they should call themselves the “Wasted Vote Party”.

Standish independents’ Coun Gareth Fairhurst - his wife, former councillor Debbie Fairhurst, is expected to be fighting the seat - said that the new party split demonstrated the division in the official Labour ranks.

He said: “It has been no secret the mess Labour are in Standish.

“Labour councillor Emma McGurrin has caused numerous issues for Labour and recently after a lengthy battle have now chosen a new candidate to fight this years’ local election.

“Now she has decided to register a new party called Wigan Real Labour.

“So this year there will probably be two Labour candidates on the ballot paper which will confuse people and could split the Labour vote in our favour.”

“We know the people of Standish want a team that fight for them and not between themselves like Labour are doing so I hope they will support our candidate.”

According to documentation lodged with the Electoral Commission, Wigan Real Labour’s founding principles include ‘making real decisions for real people, supporting families and meeting their needs and standing strong for the working classes.’

They are also claiming to promote ‘Wigan jobs for Wigan people first’ and ‘Wigan business first here - not contractors.’