Tory councillor slammed for joining Labour ‘to sabotage leadership election’

Alan Pearmain
Alan Pearmain

A senior Tory councillor has admitted joining the Labour Party to sabotage its leadership election.

Councillor Alan Pearmain, who has also been criticised for use of offensive language on social media, bragged online that he’d signed up to “vote for the biggest w*****”.

Local Labour party members slammed his actions as “completely dishonest and woefully unacceptable” and have called on the council’s chief executive to look into the matter.

But Coun Pearmain, a Farington Parish Councillor and deputy leader of the South Ribble Conservative Association, told the Evening Post he is “very right wing and anything goes”.

On Twitter he wrote: “As an ex-military person have subscribed to Labour Party at one £ a year. Whoopie! Can vote for biggest w*****. Is Ed putting up again?”

When asked about his actions, he said: “It’s not naughty, I’m quite happy to do it.

“If I can stop someone who wants to ban Trident, leaving the country without any nuclear weapons, who wants to stop fracking, then I will try to sabotage it.

“I have no issue with it. Are you trying to say that none of them (Labour) have never done anything like this?”

Coun Pearmain did not say who he’d voted for, but has Tweeted several times asking followers to “Vote Corbyn”.

This fits with a national #ToriesForCorbyn campaign, which according to reports, aims to elect the most left-wing person possible as leader.

On Thursday, Tim Loughton, the Conservative MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said he paid £3 and signed up online to show Labour’s process for choosing its leader was a “complete farce”.

Under new rules anyone can vote if they pay £3 (or £1 for servicemen and women), and sign up as a registered supporter by midday today.

Registered supporters must give signed or verbal agreement that they “support the aims and values of the Labour party” and are “not a supporter of any organisation opposed to it”.

Coun Paul Foster, leader of the South Ribble Labour Group, said of Coun Pearmain: “It’s a completely dishonest thing to do and totally unacceptable for someone who is an elected representative.

“If he is so right wing, by signing up to the Labour party he’s lied on his declaration that he supports the socialist values of Labour.

“It’s incoherent behaviour and I find it highly offensive that he’s called another member of a political party a w*****. We might disagree with their policies, but we are not w****** and he needs to be held to account.

“I have asked the chief executive of the borough council to look into his conduct and I want an apology.

“If this was a member of my group, I’d have dealt with it swiftly and appropriately.”

The Labour Party has said Tory councillors will be identified and prevented from having a vote.

A party spokesman said: “The Labour Party has a robust system to prevent fraudulent or malicious applications. Unless they intend to defect to Labour, Councillors and representatives of other parties will not be allowed a vote in Labour’s leadership election.

“However, we will keep their generous donation £3 to the Labour Party.”

Coun Pearmain’s Tweets have also been criticised by Labour for their “abusive and offensive” content.

But the 65-year-old of Constable Avenue, Farington, initially denied swearing, then admitted to using asterixes in place of letters in swearwords, saying “Isn’t that what you do in the media?”

Then said: “I think you make Twitter your own, and I’m an extreme person and that’s how my life goes.

“I’m dead against swearing in football, but why doesn’t anyone ever tell Mr Rooney not to swear on the pitch?”

Coun Phil Smith, chairman of the South Ribble Conservative Association, said: “If Alan has made some personal comments on Twitter, then they are personal to him.

“If Alan has made inappropriate comments on behalf of the Conservative Party, I’m sure the party will take appropriate action.”

The Conservative Party nationally declined to comment. South Ribble Council and Farington Parish Council both said they had not received a complaint.