A POLITICAL leader in Burnley has spoken of her sadness after a colleague was disqualified as a councillor for failing to attend meetings for six months.

Town hall bosses confirmed that former councillor Imtiaz Hussain had been removed from his Bank Hall seat under electoral rules.

But it has emerged that Mr Hussain, of Burns Street, was planning to stand down after the sudden death of his wife.

Coun Julie Cooper, Labour group leader, said: “As a relatively recent widower and father of five young children Imtiaz has on a number of occasions found it very difficult to attend meetings at the town hall.

"He has however worked within the community and has regularly assisted residents with their problems.

“Because of his difficult family circumstances he has made the decision not to seek re-election in May.

“Quite often he found it difficult to get babysitters so he could attend. Sometimes we need to remember that councillors are human beings as well.”

Mr Hussain was coming to the end of his first term as a councillor, having been elected in 2007, then beating the Liberal Democrats’ Justin Birtwistle by 91 votes.

Because he was approaching the end of his term, there will not be an immediate by-election in the ward.

The seat will next be contested as part of the annual borough elections in May.

Coun Cooper and Coun Gary Frayling, who also represents Labour, will be handling case work in Bank Hall until the May polls.