Post by oldhamexile on May 2, 2017 1:37:33 GMT
When I saw the candidate's surname I assumed she (or at least her husband) were part of a Liberal dynasty. But it turns out they are ex-Tories.
Wera Hobhouse was born in Germany and met her husband William Hobhouse in London as a student. They moved to Liverpool, then Rochdale.
William Hobhouse was Conservative candidate for Manchester Blackley in 1992, and a Tory candidate at several local elections in Rochdale.
At the 2004 elections both William and Wera Hobhouse were elected as Tory councillors in separate Rochdale wards (Bamford and Norden respectively). The following year they defected to the Lib Dems and in 2006 were each re-elected under their new colours. (They had each finished third at the all-out elections in 2004 so had to stand again after a two-year term.)
Their decision to defect seems to have been linked to disgreement with local Tories' approach to safe development of the former asbestos factory Turner & Newall – a slight irony since one of the many reasons for Cyril Smith's notoriety was his being in the pocket of Turner & Newall.
William Hobhouse lost his seat to a Tory in 2010, but Wera survived and became Lib Dem group leader in 2011. This followed the serious split in the group at the end of 2010, which had pushed Labour into control of the council helped by Lib Dem defections.
In 2011 Wera Hobhouse had to apologise to Rochdale's borough solicitor after wrongly accusing her of political bias. She resigned as Lib Dem group leader after their landslide defeat at the 2012 council election, and in 2013 left the council. The Hobhouses then moved to Somerset.