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Archive - Friday, 16 May 2003
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Snub doesn't spoil big day
CELEBRATIONS to mark the election of Pendle's first Asian Mayor were marred last night when only a quarter of the Liberal Democrat councillors took their seats for the ceremony.
The majority of the group, including the council's newly-elected leader Coun Alan Davies, waited outside the chamber at Nelson Town Hall during the ceremony in protest at the decision to elect Coun Mohammad Iqbal instead of Coun Fred Hartley, who was deputy mayor.
Coun Alan Davies had earlier announced that none of his group would attend the mayor-making and although around six of the councillors eventually decided to attend they played no part in voting for the new Mayor and stayed seated as he entered the chamber.
Coun Iqbal was proposed by Coun Gary Rowland and seconded by Coun Sheena Dunn.
Coun Rowland said: "I think he will be the youngest mayor of Pendle and possibly the youngest Mayor in the country. He joined the council shortly after me and I have known him to be an honest and hard working councillor not just in his ward of Bradley but the whole of Pendle during the last 12 years."
He was praised by the leader of the Conservatives, Coun Tony Beckett, who slammed the behaviour of the Liberal Democrats.
"It's not only a duty but a privilege for all councillors of all parties to attend and participate in the time honoured custom of electing the mayor of the borough. On occasions like this differences should be set aside and harmony ought to prevail."
Coun Iqbal said: "Despite the disappointing antics of certain people since my selection for the position of Mayor resulting in my home and car being attacked I regard the position of Mayor as an extremely high honour and I assure the council and people of Pendle that I will carry out my year of office with the highest integrity.
"I will be a Mayor who will help to promote community cohesion across Pendle and a start of this being a multi-faith service on Sunday. As I grew up in Nelson I never saw people as black or white and still don't.
"Agencies and all of us as a community need to work hard to support the breaking down of barriers."
His wife Naheed was chosen to be Mayoress but because the couple have a young family consorts will also be used during the year at various events.
The Mayoress' charities this year will be the neo-natal unit at Burnley General Hospital, particularly for cots, and the local branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Retiring Mayor and Mayoress, Coun Pauline McCormick and her sister Gillian Carradice, were thanked for their hard work during the past 12 months.