Blackburn’s mayor is forced to resign after being fined £200 for going to ‘wedding’ during lockdown
- Councillor Iftakhar Hussain has today resigned and apologised for his ‘error’
- He claimed he was at an address for a short time to accept food deliveries
- However police said they found up to 30 people at the address and fined nine
The mayor of Blackburn has been forced to resign after he was fined £200 for allegedly attending a wedding with up to 30 people during lockdown.
Councillor Iftakhar Hussain has today resigned from his post as Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen after apologising for an ‘error in judgement’.
Cllr Hussain claimed he attended the address for a short time on Saturday and had only gone ‘to open the door to the house so some food could be delivered’.
Police confirmed they handed £200 fines to nine people, including Cllr Hussain, after claims a wedding was taking place.
Councillor Iftakhar Hussain has today resigned from his post as Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen after apologising for an ‘error in judgement’
His decision came as town hall conduct bosses launched an investigation after the incident on Saturday.
Councillor Hussain was first elected to serve for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2004 and has been representing the Bastwell and Daisyfield ward for over 15 years.
Blackburn with Darwen has the second highest Covid rate in the nation at 340 cases per 100,000 people.
Following his resignation, 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 known 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.
Cllr Hussain claimed he attended the address for a short time on Saturday and had only gone ‘to open the door to the house so some food could be delivered’
‘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.’
Cllr Hussain said he had been called to a relative’s house on Dukes Brow in Blackburn, Lancs., after it was revealed today (Mon) he was fined for breaching Covid rules.
He added he realised he should have refused to attend.
People aged 18 or over can be fined £200 for the first offence but this is lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days.
Cllr Hussain said: ‘I confirm whilst I was present at the house at the time in question, I was the one who opened the door to the police and explained this to them.
‘I do urge everyone to keep to the rules and it is important whatever the circumstances to adhere to the restrictions. Everyone has a part to play.
‘I would like to sincerely apologise for my mistake.
‘I have always taken a lead role in advising people on various platforms regarding the seriousness of the pandemic and will continue to do so as a leading member of the community.’
Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan said: ‘I think Cllr Hussain has made the right decision. He admitted he had made a mistake. It is very sad.’
Cllr Hussain said he had been called to a relative’s house on the corner of Gibraltar Street and Dukes Brow on Saturday ‘to open the door to the house so some food could be delivered’.
The council’s director of human resources and governance David Fairclough said: ‘This matter is being looked into. Any complaints alleging a failure to comply with the Members’ Code of Conduct will be looked at very seriously..’
Cllr John Slater, leader of the council’s Conservative group, said: ‘Under the circumstances Cllr Hussain has made the right decision.’
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