PETER SWAINSTON, the Burnley mayor who resigned after an indecency conviction, is to stand down from Burnley Council.

Coun Swainston, a Labour member for 23 years, today announced he will not seek re-election in Barclay ward at May's municipal polls.

The former award-wining milkman who quit the mayoralty two years' ago after a court conviction for gross indecency with another man in public toilets in a Nelson park, resisted calls for him to resign his Burnley Council seat at the time of the offence.

He was due to face a re-selection panel of Labour ward members later this month.

But Coun Swainston, 50, who last year "came out" in the town's council chamber to declare he was gay and proud of it, said there had been no pressure on him to go. "It is purely my decision - after 23 years, I have decided there are other things in life besides politics. "I have achieved everything I could have done and it is time to stand down," he added.

Coun Swainston, chairman of the town's equal opportunities sub committee, said he had enjoyed his years on the council and the highpoint was the honour of being Burnley's mayor "until it ended in disaster."

"The council has been a big and important chapter of my life, but it is time for change," he said.

Last year councillors threw out a motion by Independent leader Harry Brooks calling on Coun Swainston to go.

At that meeting revealed his homosexuality and declared: "I am proud of what I am.

He spoke of his many regrets for what he did in Nelson but added: "What I am needs no apology or excuses.

He added: "In 22 years of public service I made just one mistake - just one - and I and my family paid for that mistake - God knows we paid for it."

Coun Swainston was popular in his ward and as a milkman for many years.

In 1990 he won the North West Milkman of the Year award for his caring service, particularly to the elderly and disabled.

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