A senior Labour Councillor from Blackburn has been suspended from the party on Blackburn with Darwen Council until his court case over alleged fly-tipping is resolved.
Cllr Hussain Akhtar, the former mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, is expected to attend a pre-trial hearing next month, with three days already set aside in November for a full trial at Burnley Magistrates Court.
Akhtar, 75, has pleaded not guilty to flytipping, with it being alleged that in November 2021 he dumped waste including wood, metal, glass, electrical items, and general building materials and waste at Wilton Park, Blackburn.
The Shear Brow and Corporation Park representative is now sitting as an independent.
Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Labour leader Cllr Phil Riley said: “Cllr Hussain Akhtar is sitting as an Independent until legal proceedings in which he is involved have been resolved.”
Cllr Akhtar has so far declined to make any comment on his suspension.
The Blackburn Labour Party group have a long history of being embroiled in scandal, including local Labour Councillors being suspended for antisemitism.
Cllr Akhtar is also not the only mayor from the borough to face controversy. In 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Labour Mayor Iftakhar Hussain resigned after being caught by police breaking lockdown rules to attend an address where a wedding celebration was taking place.
The Labour Mayor’s bizarre and unbelievable initial excuse was that he had attended the address after being contacted and asked to come over to ‘open the front door to allow a delivery driver to deliver some food’.
Understandably refusing to buy his story, Police handed £200 fines to nine people, including Mr Hussain, amid claims a wedding was taking place – leading to the Mayor resigning over what he confessed to be a “momentary lapse of judgement”.
In April of the same year, the Labour-run council was officially placed under police investigation over fraud allegations.
Commenting on the latest scandal, this time involving Cllr Akhtar, Rick Moore, Deputy chairman of the Blackburn Conservative Association said:
“Given the problems Blackburn with Darwen Council have had with fly tipping, it is disappointing that a Councillor has been caught up in this, and that it is taking so long to resolve the matter. Obviously, we must await the court’s verdict, and hope that appropriate actions will be taken by BwDBC at that time.”