Labour chief admits ‘I was a secret Tory’
LABOUR’S Rossendale group chairman has admitted being a secret member of the Conservative party – while representing Labour on the county and borough councils.
Healey and Whitworth ward Councillor Sean Serridge, a former deputy leader of Rossendale Council, admitted becoming a paid up member of the Tories in July last year.
It comes after the chairman of the borough’s Conservative association Lee Parker revealed that Coun Serridge was a member of the Conservatives for three years, from 2002 until 2005.
He also said that Coun Serridge joined the Conservatives in July 2016 and paid membership fees until September that year.
Mr Parker said that despite not paying fees after this point, Coun Serridge remained a member of the Conservative party under a ‘grace period’ until his membership was terminated in March this year when he ‘breached party rules’ by campaigning for Labour.
When the claims were put to Coun Serridge he confirmed that he became a member in July last year but would not comment on the record about the circumstances or the reasons why he joined.
He denied being a member of the Conservatives from 2002 to 2005.
Coun Serridge, who was first elected as a Labour county councillor in 2005 when he was just 21, said: “It seems like they are doing it to make a story about something that happened 12 months ago.
“There was a lot going on at the time and someone had to keep an eye on them. I am flattered that they then allowed me to be a member for several months.”
Mr Parker said: “I can confirm he was actually a member. He paid his full membership, £25, and joined in July last year, and it was February this year he was issued with a letter by the association saying that his activities campaigning for the Labour party broke party rules and his membership was terminated. We tried to call him, we sent several emails but had no response.”
Mr Parker claims that when the party discovered that Coun Serridge had been actively campaigning for the Labour party ahead of the May LCC elections the association wrote to him to asking him to respond, and when no reply was received, they terminated his membership.
Alongside being a Rossendale Borough councillor and a member of Whitworth Town Council, Mr Serridge, who lost his Whitworth and Bacup county council seat in May, is also employed in the office of Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton, Liz McInnes, whose constituency includes Bamford, Norden and Castleton.
Mr Parker added: “As far as I’m concerned he was working for her and also a member of the Tory party.
“He was a fully paid up member from 2002 to 2005 and then he joined the party again on July 8 last year and he signed up to a 12-month membership at a time when he was office manager for Liz McInnes and also a borough and a county councillor for Labour.
“I find it curious that he joined the party while he’s paid by the opposition party as an office manager. He was in public office for the opposition party at the time he applied to become a member. It’s very odd.”
●●Coun Sean Serridge