Two Labour councillors have reportedly thrown their hat in the ring to replace Arooj Shah as Oldham’s town hall leader. That’s according to one Labour party source.
Councillors Amanda Chadderton and Shaid Mushtaq are reportedly the front-runners in the leadership fight. The group is searching for its third leader since 2021, after Miss Shah lost her seat by 96 votes to Conservative Robert Barnes.
Her exit last night (Thursday) followed that of Sean Fielding, who was ousted by the Failsworth Independent Party in 2021. It means the town will now have a third Labour leader in less than two years.
“Amanda and Shaid are the two,” a source told the Manchester Evening News.
“Everyone was trying to keep their cards close to their chest [last night]. A third candidate is also a possibility.
“It is probably 50/50 between them [councillors Chadderton and Mushtaq], but I would not rule out someone coming out of nowhere.”
Miss Shah – the first female Muslim council leader in the north – said she was ‘dehumanised’ by a deliberate ‘smear campaign’.
Speaking after the crushing result was announced, she slammed what she described as a ‘really personal campaign’.
“I fought a really positive campaign, I believe in positivity, that’s what I wanted to bring to politics in Oldham,” she added.
Miss Shah’s exit from the council came during a bruising night for Labour, which lost five seats in all. There were gains for the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Failsworth Independent Party and independent candidates.
Councillors Chadderton and Mushtaq have been approached for comment.