|Liberal Democrats candidate for
Oldham East and Saddleworth
13 January 2011
29 October 1963 |
Rochdale, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
|Political party||Liberal Democrats|
|Residence||Delph, Greater Manchester|
|Alma mater||London School of Economics|
Robert Elwyn James Watkins, born in Rochdale, is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He narrowly lost to Labour Party candidate Phil Woolas for the Oldham East and Saddleworth seat in the 2010 general election, but the result was overturned by an election court, which found that Woolas had knowingly lied about Watkins' personal character. Watkins had stood down as a councillor representing Healey Ward on Rochdale Council in order to contest the general election. He was selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for the constituency in late 2007.
In 2008, during his time as a Rochdale councillor, Watkins said he was planning to seek legal advice after Phil Woolas' election agent suggested he had "abandoned his constituents and moved to the Middle East to work for a multi-billionaire sheikh".
Oldham East & Saddleworth court case
Watkins received significant media coverage in November 2010 after his petition against the return of Phil Woolas resulted in the general election result being declared void. Woolas was disqualified from holding elected office for three years. He failed to get the decision overturned and so a by-election for the Oldham East and Saddleworth seat was called which was won by Labour's Debbie Abrahams.
Before the judgement, Watkins had said he would quit politics if his petition against the general election result was unsuccessful. Watkins has indicated that he may consider further legal action against members of Phil Woolas' campaign team.
- "Elwyn Watkins (Lib Dem)". Manchester Evening News. 5 April 2010.
- Judges order election re-run in ex-minister's seat BBC News 2010-11-05
- "Watkins resigns from council". Oldham Evening Chronicle. 30 March 2010.
- "Elwyn Watkins selected for Oldham East and Saddleworth". Rochdale Online. 9 September 2007.
- "'Personal attack' angers Lib-Dem". Oldham Evening Chronicle. 29 August 2008.
- Elwyn Watkins 'risked all' to challenge Woolas BBC News 2010-11-09
- Election petition May 2010 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
- Nicholas Cecil (3 December 2010). "End of the road for Phil Woolas in High Court bid to save Commons seat". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 2010-12-06.
- Phil Woolas defends campaign tactics as appeal fails Philip Kemp, BBC News 9 December 2010
- "Labour celebrate victory in Oldham East by-election". BBC News. 14 January 2011.
- "Fighting talk as Liberal Democrat Elwyn Watkins gets set to take on Phil Woolas". Manchester Evening News. 1 October 2010.
- Alex Stevenson (11 January 2011). "Exclusive: Watkins mulls more legal action against Labour". politics.co.uk.[permanent dead link]
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