I remember Phil Woolas’s name from when I was an undergraduate in the 1980’s. He was the President of the NUS. More recently his name has become synonymous with dirty tricks and vile behaviour while he was a Home Office minister.
When in government, Woolas authorised security guards employed by private contractors Serco and G4S to use “physical control in care (PCC)” techniques to remove people resisting deportation.
Not only did that include mothers with mental health problems, but children under the age of 18.
Woolas has been suspended from the Labour Party after being found guilty of producing campaign material that made false allegations about his Lib Dem opponent. In effect, Woolas took a leaf out of the Lib Dem election manual and played the race card. He got called on it. He’s been stripped of his seat too. The upshot of all this is that the election has been declared void and will have to be fought again.
Oldham East and Saddleworth was created out of the former seat of Littleborough and Saddleworth and was a Lib Dem held seat until 1997 when the boundaries were changed. Prior to the by-election of 1995, it was a Conservative held seat. The addition of Oldham makes this seat a key marginal for the three main parties.
Ironically enough, Woolas was once a member of the Anti-Nazi League. These days, he behaves more like a suited member of the EDL.
Woolas has said that he intends to seek a judicial review.