A lawyer who was due to stand for election in Blackburn has withdrawn from the race to become councillor.

Ghafar Khan was aiming to win the Audley and Queens Park seat for Labour in May.

In a statement released by the local Labour Party, Mr Khan said: “When I agreed to put my name forward to stand as a councillor in the local elections, I wanted to be able to represent the local community to improve local facilities and services.

“As time has gone on, I have recognised that the demands on a councillor’s time are more significant than I understood, and are probably not compatible with my busy working life and the demands of my job, which often see me working out of town.

“As a result, I have told the local Labour Party leadership I want to withdraw my name from consideration for this year’s local elections.”

Mr Khan had been criticised earlier this month over an issue with a campaign leaflet featuring a person's name without permission.

Following a selection meeting held on Wednesday (March 27) the Blackburn Labour Party said  former mayor and councillor, Faryad Hussain, had been selected to be the candidate at this year's election in Audley and Queen's Park.

The local Labour Party said: “We thank Ghafar Khan for his time and effort in this year's elections and appreciate and respect his decision to step down at this point.

“Faryad Hussain has many years of council experience having been a Queen's Park councillor up to 2018, and then a councillor in Blackburn Central until 2020.

"Faryad has held a number of senior council positions, including executive member for environment, and is a former Mayor of Blackburn with Darwen.

"Faryad is also a resident of Audley and Queens Park Ward.

“We wish Faryad the best of luck in this election and would encourage electors to support Faryad in becoming Councillor as we seek to gain Audley and Queens Park for Labour.”

This year's local elections take place on Thursday, May 2.