BLACKBURN with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern is to step down from the role tomorrow to concentrate on her campaign to become the town’s next MP.

Cllr Mohammed Khan, the senior deputy leader, will take over as interim leader of the council until the Labour group’s annual meeting on May 9 when a new leader will be elected.


Dumbarton-born Coun Hollern, 58, came to the town aged 22 in 1977, working first at Newman’s Footwear and then at Blackburn College.

A mother-of-two with two grandchildren living in the town, she has been a councillor for 19 years and leader of the borough’s Labour group for a decade.

Coun Phil Riley, chairman of the Labour group in Blackburn, said: “The reasoning behind this change is quite simple – Kate has to concentrate on her campaign to become the MP for Blackburn.

“She will not be able to find the time for the day-to-day running of the council as the campaign becomes more intense and the general election draws nearer.”

Cllr Hollern was chosen from an all-female shortlist to stand for the Labour seat after Jack Straw, who has represented the town for 36 years in the House of Commons, announced he would be retiring in May.

Cllr Hollern, who is a ward councillor for Wensley Fold, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I am deeply honoured to represent the Labour party for Blackburn in the 2015 general election.”

“I will continue to work tirelessly for the principles the Labour party believes in.”