A DISGRACED councillor who tried to rig an election has made a plea from his prison cell - don't kick me off Burnley Council.

Manzur Hussain could be dismissed because he has not attended a meeting for six months - the limit set by the Government.

But he has asked fellow councillors not to sack him when they meet to discuss his future on Wednesday.

He is claiming that he has been prevented from attending meetings since August 23 by an 18-month sentence for defrauding the returning officer at the 2004 local elections.

However, he was only actually jailed on November 23 and had previously been on unconditional bail.

And investigations by the Lancashire Telegraph have revealed that during that time he could have attended three meetings including a full council meeting on October 18.

Civic leaders have branded the situation a disgrace and once again called on Hussain to resign.

Hussain is expected to be released from Kirkham Open Prison on a tag in April - when he hopes to still be a councillor.

The former Liberal Democrat and now Independent councillor, who represents Daneshouse with Stoneyholme, has not been sacked already because he is appealing against his conviction.

KItty Ussher, MP for Burnley, said she wanted to see an end to the saga.

She said: "It seems he could have been at meetings and should have been at meetings up to the point where he went to prison.

"He is unable to do his duty.

"That would be the same if he got a job abroad.

"It has brought shame on the community and the town and reflects badly on Burnley. He needs to go."

Fellow ward councillor, Labour Coun Zahir Ahmed added: "The residents of Daneshouse with Stoneyholme are losing out because of this.

"How can you represent a ward from prison?"

Hussain has pleaded to the council through a letter from his solicitor Jeremy Coleman, of Nelson-based David Phillips and Partners.

The letter reads: "As you are well aware Councillor Hussain is currently in HMP Kirkham and is therefore unable to attend any council meetings. His non attendance is not out of any choice. If he were in a position to attend, he would attend."

In December the Lancashire Telegraph revealed how Hussain, 58, of Milner Street, Burnley, was still claiming his council allowance of £2,100 which was £175 a month.

David Wilcock, the council's monitoring officer said: "The Local Government Act 1972 says that if a member of the council doesn't attend at least one council or committee meeting during six consecutive months, then they automatically cease to be a member, unless they give a reason for the failure which is accepted by a meeting of the full council.

"The council is due to consider the issue at its meeting on February 21."

Fellow Daneshouse with Stoneyholme councillor Mozaquir Ali, of Brougham Street, Burnley, was also sentenced to 18months after been found guilty of the same offence, resulting in yesterday's by-election.