01 February 2016

Lord Mayor elect Muhammad Afzal stands down after storm over controversial comments

Lord Mayor elect Muhammad Afzal has withdrawn from the running for the role after a series of controversies.

The under-fire councillor had been expected to become the city’s next First Citizen but lost support after comments linking the Prime Minister to Islamophobia.

Days later, he stood accused of being dismissive about concerns over domestic violence and forced marriage by the Muslim Women’s Network.

After days of pressure, the veteran Labour councillor has withdrawn from the running just hours before a key meeting on the issue.

Coun Afzal said he had withdrawn his name from nomination because he was anxious that no controversy should attach to the post of Lord Mayor.

He said: “I consider it a huge honour to be chosen by the Labour Group to be the party’s nominee as the next lord mayor. If the council had agreed to this nomination to be the first citizen of such a great city, it would have been the highlight of my career and a great privilege.

“However, recent publicity in the local media has given rise to unfair and indeed untrue comments being ascribed to me. I have tried to put the record straight but sadly it has not been possible to do so as rumour and innuendo has replaced facts.” [Birmingham Mail] Read more