Lancashire mayor quits after flouting COVID-19 restrictions

A Lancashire mayor has resigned after being given a £200 fine for flouting coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Cllr Iftakhar Hussain quit as Blackburn with Darwen Borough’s “First Citizen” today and suspended himself from the council’s ruling Labour group.

Lancashire Live reports that Cllr Hussain apologised for an “error of judgement” in attending an event, described as a wedding with up to 30 people present.

A police spokesperson said officers responded to reports of up to 30 people attending a wedding on Saturday, adding: “There they found nine people inside. Each individual was issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice and was instructed to leave, which they did.”

Cllr Hussain said: “Given recent events I have taken the decision to step down from my position as the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen with immediate effect. I do not want to make any excuses. I regret the momentary lapse of judgement. I should have know better and I accept full responsibility for my actions.

“Being appointed as the Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen during these unprecedented times has been challenging but an honour. It was a proud moment for me and my family. Today I am giving this up to protect the reputation of the borough. I hope my actions will serve as a reminder to the people of Blackburn with Darwen of the importance of following the Covid-19 guidelines as it remains a real and serious threat.”

Sayyed Osman, Deputy Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We have been informed that Cllr Iftakhar Hussain has taken the decision to step down from the position of Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen following the incident this weekend.

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“We believe this was the correct course of action and reinforces the Council’s Members’ code of conduct, which highlights personal responsibility. We do not endorse or condone any behaviour that falls outside this code and the coronavirus restrictions and guidelines.”

Leader of the Council, Councillor Mohammed Khan added: “I have accepted Councillor Iftakhar Hussain’s resignation as Mayor of the borough following the incident this weekend where he was found to be in breach of Covid restrictions. I know he deeply regrets this mistake. I would like to thank him for his dedicated service as Mayor during this difficult year.”

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