Petition launched to remove former Blackburn Mayor from council

Cllr Iftakhar Hussain was Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen from 2020 to 2021.

A petition has been launched in Blackburn to get a former Mayor removed from the council after he breached Coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Labour Cllr Iftakhar Hussain had come under fire for attending his uncle’s home in Dukes Brow, Blackburn on February 13 in an event described as a ‘wedding celebration.’

He resigned as Mayor two days later after the council launched an investigation into the incident.

The petition called ‘Remove Cllr Iftakhar Hussain From His Blackburn Council Seat’ was launched this month to have Cllr Hussain ejected from his seat and barred from running as a councillor in Blackburn with Darwen.

His long-time colleague, Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Browne, has publicly called for Cllr Hussain to leave, adding that: “He should now stand down at the May elections.”

The Bastwell and Daisyfield ward councillor was fined £200 by police for visiting the house during the third national lockdown.

John Richardson, an accountant, who started the online petition, said: “I’m utterly disgusted with the way in which Mr Hussain conducted himself.

“Resigning as Mayor in disgrace is one thing, now he needs to leave the council after breaking the law and receiving a fine.

“He goes around telling people what to do, yet he’s failed to practice what he preaches.”  

Blackburn Town Hall, the seat of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Photo by David Robert Morris.

Before Cllr Hussain stepped down as the borough’s ‘First Citizen’, he apologised for what he called an ‘error of judgement’ and believed resigning was the best thing to do.

Cllr Hussain was first elected to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council in 2004 and was a member of the ruling Labour group before suspending himself.

He is up for re-election in May and has announced his intention to run again for another term as the Labour candidate.

Originally from Pakistan, he came to the UK at the age of nine and became a self-employed businessman.

Speaking of Cllr Hussain’s background, Mr Richardson added: “His story is an inspiring one, and it’s such a shame it has come to this; but serious, moral lessons have to be learned here.

“He broke COVID restrictions and knew visiting the house was wrong – his stint in local politics must now come to an end.”