HIGH-PROFILE Labour MP Shabana Mahmood has urged more Asian women to become councillors in Blackburn during a visit to the borough.

Her call was backed by Blackburn Labour Party secretary Phil Riley, and leading community figure Iftakhar Hussain The Birmingham Ladywood MP, from Azad Kashmir, in Pakistan, addressed an audience of 200 people at the Kashmiri Association, in Whalley Range.

She said: “As one of the first Muslim women MPs to be elected to Parliament, this is a particularly important issue for me.

“I want to see more women from ethnic minorities, and the Asian and Muslim communities, involved in politics.

“They are passionate and knowledgeable about political issues.

“This is not just about your neck of the woods in Blackburn with Darwen.

“We recently got the first Muslim women elected to Birmingham City Council and I want to see that happen all over the country.

“It is a message I try to carry as I go around the nation.”

Coun Hussain said: “Shabana is absolutely right.

“We need more Asian women to become involved in politics, involved in the Labour Party, and become councillors.”

“Shabana said it was important the community looks at the policies of each party before voting.

“She also urged the community to back more females to come forward and play their part in the community.

“She also praised the Lancashire community for their awareness and the way they have bucked the trend in the past.”

The Bastwell councillor said: “We have been a bit behind the times with this in Blackburn with Darwen borough.

“We need to catch up on the involvement of Asian women in democratic and civic life,.”

Coun Riley, who represents Roe Lee ward, said: “We certainly do need more Asian women on Blackburn with Darwen Council.

“We have tried to put up female candidates from this important community before, but they did not get elected. What we need to do is find the right Asian women to stand as candidates, in the right wards, at the right time.”

Borough Conservative group leader Mike Lee said: “I would certainly like to see more Asian women on Blackburn with Darwen Council.

“It should be a truly representative group of people.”