Covid: Councillor suspended over 'rule-breach wedding trip'

By Rahila Bano
BBC Asian Network

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image captionPhotos posted on Facebook allegedly showed Aftab Razaq attending the ceremony

A councillor accused of breaching Covid restrictions by flying to Pakistan and attending a wedding has been suspended by the local Labour Party.

Photos were shared on Facebook last weekend allegedly showing Manchester City Councillor Aftab Razaq at the celebration in the city of Kharian.

Under the current Covid-19 rules in the UK, it is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.

Mr Razaq, 52, has yet to respond to the BBC's request for a comment.

He was seen in the photos apparently ignoring social distancing and not wearing a mask, despite virus rules in Pakistan making this mandatory.

'Flabbergasted'

Councillor Pat Karney, secretary of Manchester Labour, told the BBC he would "thoroughly investigate these matters".

He said the Labour group had seen the photographs but "despite their best efforts" had not been able to contact the Whalley Range councillor, who received a coronavirus vaccine in January.

"All Manchester councillors must rigorously abide by Covid regulations and we will take action against any individual who does not," Mr Karney added.

image captionCouncillor John Leech said Mr Razaq should resign after "setting a terrible example"

Liberal Democrat opposition leader John Leech said he was "flabbergasted" by the alleged breach and called for Mr Razaq to resign.

"I can't see how there can be any justification for a councillor to be travelling thousands of miles to go to a wedding and then for it to be put on Facebook which just sets a terrible example," he said.

"Unless there is some explanation and I can't come up with any reasonable explanation I think he should resign."

image copyrightFacebook
image captionCouncillor Aftab Razaq pictured having the Covid-19 vaccine at the end of January

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