Council leader resigns to prevent 'disunity' ahead of no confidence vote

Richard Farnell apologised to sexual abuse Credit: ITV Granada

Richard Farnell has stood down as the Leader of Rochdale Council.

He's faced calls to quit since recent evidence he gave to the national public inquiry into allegations of child abuse at Knowl View School.

Councillor Farnell has always denied knowing about it. He'd been due to face vote of no confidence at a council meeting on Wednesday.

He emailed fellow councillors claiming he stepped down to prevent causing 'disunity.'

"Following the evidence to the child abuse inquiry there's been a persistent campaign from a small minority of members in the party calling for my suspension in an attempt to undermine my leadership and cause disunity in the party and group,"

– Richard Farnell who's stepped down as council leader

Cllr Farnell had made a personal apology to survivors of historical sexual abuse two months ago.

It's the first time a politician has said sorry for what happened at institutions in the town over several decades.

The council's two deputy leaders will take over until his replacement has been chosen.

WATCHL Our exclusive report when Richard Farnell apologised to sexual abuse survivors in October.