Breakaway party sours Labour relations

Council that `brought town back from the dead' splits in two amid long-running claims of impropriety. Nicholas Timmins reports

One of Labour's most successful councils yesterday exploded in acrimony amid charges of jealousy and impropriety.

A dozen sitting councillors in Corby, Northamptonshire, including its leader and deputy leader, who have been de- selected by Labour, were joined by 11 other candidates to launch Corby First Labour - a new political party which will fight Labour for 23 of the council's 27 seats in May's local elections. Their announcement came as Roy Maddox, the Labour Party regional secretary, said he was sending a dossier to the district auditor, alleging serious impropriety by the council leader and others.

The row has awkward implications for Labour, as Mick Skelton, a former steel union official, who is acting as agent for the new party for the local elections, promised it would fight the general election too.

Corby is the Conservatives' ninth most marginal, seat with a majority of just 342. A split vote could cost Labour the seat and would be the culmination of several years of infighting.

This led to a recommendation by the local party that Kelvin Glendenning, the leader, Peter McGowan, his deputy, and Ray Telfer, the mayor, should be expelled for breaking party rules. Labour's national constitutional committee has been investigating the council since 1993.

The district auditor yesterday confirmed that a review of councillors' expenses and the procedures for approving them was under way, after the issue had been raised by the auditor in the past in management letters.

Launching his new party, Mr Glendenning, 69, the Labour group leader since 1974 and council leader since 1979, accused Labour officials and opponents of a "conspiracy and a vendetta" and of "jealousy" at the success of a town that had "come back from the dead". Corby's steel works closed in 1980 with the loss of well over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. Since then 15,000 have been created and unemployment stands at only 7 per cent.

Questions, however, have been raised over the propriety of Mr Glendenning moving from a council house to a council-owned Grade II listed cottage, which he subsequently bought at a discount under the right-to-buy scheme after £10,000 was spent on renovations. Mr Glendenning yesterday denied that that much had been spent, and maintained he had been top of the council's priority list for a move after his former council house had been broken into five times. How much he paid for it was a personal matter, he said.

Jack Adamson, 71, 16 years a Labour councillor and one of the nine remaining "official" Labour councillors, said lavish sums had been spent on entertaining and a "breakfast club" in the mayor's parlour had been halted after being brought to the attention of the local auditor. "These people have been in power so long that they consider they have a God-given right to be in control of Corby's affairs," he said. Mr Glendinning denied any impropriety and accused his opponents of "trivia", claiming 25 per cent of local Labour Party members had already resigned with him to fight Labour.

The Conservatives are contesting only 11 of the 27 seats in May's elections, making the dispute unlikely to let them in.

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game