A SIMMERING feud between Oldham MP and former council leader Jim McMahon and the former chief executive of a failed free school has erupted into a war of words on social media.

Oldham West and Royton Labour MP Mr McMahon has alleged that "defamatory statements" are being made against him by Raja Miah, the former CEO of the Collective Spirit Free School and Manchester Creative Studio School.

The online row follows weeks of Facebook posts by Mr Miah making a series of allegations against Mr McMahon when he was council leader, current leader Sean Fielding and chief executive Dr Carolyn Wilkins.

Now, the MP claims the "campaign of harassment and abuse" against him started about the time the Department of Education published its investigation into allegations of financial and governance irregularities at Collective Spirit and the Manchester school.

On his Facebook page, Mr McMahon said: "I had not intended to reply to the statements made, instead to allow proper process to fully address the issues surrounding the schools first.

"However, it is clear that the content is being shared more widely and therefore its impact more significant, and with an election called before then it feels appropriate to make a statement now.

"I have no doubt that the campaign of harassment and abuse is intended to intimidate me into withdrawing from the long-standing and ongoing investigation into allegations surrounding Collective Spirit Free School and the Manchester Creative Studio School - a matter which has been widely reported, debated in Parliament and subject to review by the Department for Education.

"I am thankful for the messages of support (I have received), but equally disappointed that such a sensitive and distressing issue has been used for political gain by others, and that some feel it appropriate to share wider."

Mr McMahon has been attacked by Mr Miah over matters relating to investigations into historic child sex exploitation claims when he was leader of Oldham Council in 2013.

Mr Miah has also made allegations against current council leader Sean Fielding and chief executive Dr Carolyn Wilkins, claims The Oldham Times is not reporting for legal reasons.

One the issue of safeguarding, Mr McMahon said: "I take safeguarding very seriously and if others have concerns about safeguarding, they should be reported to the appropriate authorities immediately.

"Throughout my time as a councillor and latterly as council leader in Oldham I acted in the public interest and did my utmost to ensure that the leadership and culture was in place to protect vulnerable people.

"Any suggestion to the contrary isn’t just offensive, but more actively seeks to undermine public confidence. Moreover, it is blatant defamation.

"I find it incredible that Raja Miah, the failed former CEO of the crisis-hit Collective Spirit Free School and the Manchester Studio School feels qualified to make judgements about matters of safeguarding."

Mr Miah then responded saying he had "no responsibility regarding (a) safeguarding failure at the schools.

He added: "I will be speaking to my lawyers regarding this and (to see) if I am able to I will take legal action against him."

When contacted by The Oldham Times, Mr McMahon declined to comment further. Mr Miah was unavailable for comment.