Luton mayor resigns over garden party lockdown breach

Image source, Luton Borough Council
Image caption,
Waheed Akbar, Asif Masood and Tahir Malik apologised for their lockdown breach

A mayor who broke Covid-19 lockdown rules to attend a party has resigned.

Luton mayor Tahir Malik was pictured at a gathering in a garden, along with borough councillors Asif Masood and Waheed Akbar.

It came shortly after the town had been designated as an "area of intervention" by Public Health England.

Mr Malik said: "There is no excuse for what I did - I should have known better and I accept full responsibility for my actions."

Pictures of Mr Malik, Mr Masood and Mr Akbar had emerged on social media following the gathering in July.

In a statement on Luton Borough Council's website, Mr Malik said his actions had been "below the standard of my position".

He said standing down was the "best thing I could do for the town".

He added he hoped his actions would serve "as a reminder to the people of Luton of the importance of following the Covid-19 guidelines as it remains a real and serious threat".

Media caption,
Coronvirus: Video shows Luton mayor breaking lockdown rules

Borough council leader Hazel Simmons (Lab) said Mr Malik had made a "mistake which he deeply regrets" and that "he and his family are really hurting right now".

She added: "What has happened is unfortunate, and I think it is right for him to step down at this time, but it's important to recognise the fantastic contribution he has made to Luton."

Opposition Liberal Democrat leader David Franks said the matter was not over.

"It would help if the local Labour Party would make it clear what action it is taking," he said.

"This period of silence raises suspicions of an attempted cover-up."

The borough council said it had received complaints about the three Labour councillors, which would be addressed through its Standards Committee.

It added a new mayor would be appointed on 29 September.

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