Friday, October 24, 2014

Milton Keynes MPs call for ex-mayor to resign as councillor “with immediate effect”

Disgraced ex-mayor Subhan Shafiq should resign immediately, according to city MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster.
The two Tories have called upon the councillor to step down, following a Citizen investigation linking him to an alleged immigration racket which provides false documents for foreign workers.

Mr Shafiq has faced repeated calls to resign since August when it emerged he had personally recommended a convicted rapist to be a city cabbie.

The city MPs said in a joint statement: “Holding elected office is a privilege that should be held with integrity, and we have been fortunate to have had excellent councillors from all political parties and some have represented residents over many years.

“In light of the latest allegations against the former mayor, and the ongoing reputational damage it is causing to both Milton Keynes and the council, we believe that he should resign his position as a ward councillor with immediate effect - not least to give himself and his family the opportunity to respond to allegations away from the public spotlight.”

Mr Shafiq was elected as councillor four years ago and became Mayor in May, but his downfall began three months later.

A whistleblower wrote a letter to the leader of the council Peter Marland revealing Mr Shafiq had given a reference for his friend, Nadeem Kiani, to receive a taxi licence.

After having his licence approved by the licensing sub-committee chaired by Councillor Stuart Burke, the convicted sex offender went on to drive a taxi in the city for three years.

Mr Shafiq resigned from his position of mayor as the scandal broke, but him and the other councillors involved in the decision have remained defiant against resigning.

The MPs added they were concerned Milton Keynes’ reputation has been “significantly damaged” by the taxi scandal.

They said: “Residents were put in potential danger due to the poor judgement of a few councillors past and present.

“We have been consistent in our view that the individuals concerned should question their conscience and consider their positions as elected councillors.”

As reported by the Citizen last month, the Milton Keynes MPs welcomed plans for new national guidelines for the licensing of taxi and private hire vehicles.

They wrote to the Minister of State for Transport to address the “poor judgement” of committee members and Mr Shafiq and called for a national policy to stop varying standards of taxi licensing in England and Wales.

Mr Stewart, MP for MK South, and Mr Lancaster, MP for MK North, said: “Milton Keynes is a fantastic, vibrant and ambitious city that has a proud record of political parties working together in the interests of residents.

“It is important that we pull together and move forward from this difficult period and ensure that the actions of a few are not allowed to destroy the reputation of the many excellent and diligent Milton Keynes councillors.”

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