Manchester

Eighth Rochdale Lib Dem councillor quits

The eighth Liberal Democrat councillor on Rochdale Council has resigned from the party.

Mohammed Sharif, who represents the Milk Stone and Deeplish ward, will now sit as an independent.

But he will not be joining the other seven Lib Dems who have created their own party.

The resignations ended the coalition the party had with the Conservatives, leaving Labour the largest single party on the council.

A full council meeting on Wednesday will discuss which party will form an administration.

Leadership row

The other councillors who resigned said they were unhappy with the party's local and national leadership.

In his resignation letter Councillor Sharif said he quit because five issues he raised with the Lib Dems and acting leader Councillor Dale Mulgrew were not addressed, including allegations of racism in the party.

But Mr Mulgrew denied racism was a problem in the party and he alleged those who resigned had acted in "self interest and questionable motives".

He expected one more councillor to resign the party whip.

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