CALLS have been made for a former Liberal Democrat and Labour councillor who has now switched to the Conservatives in Pendle to resign.

Cllr Nawaz Ahmed, who represents Brierfield ward, said the Tories are the only party which can represent the whole of the borough.


But Labour council leader Cllr Mohammed Iqbal has challenged his former colleague to resign and fight for the seat afresh at a by-election as a Conservative.

Insiders said Cllr Ahmed’s decision has been prompted by him missing out on the Labour candidacy for the Brierfield and Nelson South county council division several years ago.

Cllr Ahmed, who was borough mayor last year, is the second member of the ruling Labour and Lib Dem group to switch sides this year, after the defection of Cllr Nadeem Ahmed.

The decision has left Pendle Council finely balanced - with the Conservatives on 24 as well as the Labour and Lib Dem administration.

Cllr Brian Parker, the sole British National Party representative and one remaining councillor, has sided with Labour and the Lib Dems after receiving a pledge to support the regeneration of land beside the railway in his Marsden ward.

Speaking after joining his new party, Cllr Nawaz Ahmed, said: “Over several months I’ve seen the work done by the Conservative Group and Pendle’s MP Andrew Stephenson.

“I came to realise the only party that can represent everyone in Pendle, is the Conservative Party. I’m delighted to be joining a hardworking and motivated group of councillors.”

Cllr Joe Cooney, group leader, said: “I’m delighted Nawaz has agreed to join the Conservative Group. He is a very experienced and well- respected councillor whose primary focus is improving Brierfield for all its residents.

“With this latest addition to our group, it once again reinforces that only the Conservatives truly represent all of Pendle.”

Cllr Iqbal said: “I’m not really surprised but two or three weeks ago he was busy attacking the Conservative government’s record.

“This is the third time he has changed his colours, having joined us in 2008.

“I am very disappointed with the way that he’s resigned from Labour and gone to the dark side.

“In my opinion he should now do the decent thing and resign so he can fight for this seat as a Conservative candidate.”