Cllr Mohammad Shariff, a Lib Dem councillor in Rochdale until December, has now joined the Conservatives.

 He says the local Conservatives "want to work with the BME community to prove that they love to work with all the communities and try to resolve the problems local people are facing.”

Welcome aboard. This is a boost for the Conservatives as they approach the May 5th when a third of the seats are up for election. At present there is a minority Labour administration.