TWO controversial councillors have been readmitted to their party’s ranks on Blackburn with Darwen’s ruling group.

Coun Arif Waghat, who was given an eight-week suspended sentence for a £3,000 benefit fraud, and Coun Yusuf Sidat, who left the borough for three months and faced a police investigation, had been excluded from the Liberal Democrat group.

Both had faced calls by opposition politicians to resign from the town hall - but at a Lib Dem party meeting last week members voted to allow the two councillors, who had been standing as independents, back to the fold.

Shear Brow councillor Waghat had suspended himself from the Liberal Democrat party, of which he was deputy leader, in August 2007 after admitting benefit fraud.

He said: “They needed our hands on the deck. I am glad to be back in the fold after my time in the wilderness and look forward to working towards Liberal Democrat principles.”

Coun Sidat, who represents Queen’s Park, was suspended by party leader David Foster in March "pending an investigations into allegations of inappropriate conduct that could bring the group into disrepute."

Police spoke to him following an alleged incident involving a woman in Bradford, but he was not arrested or charged.

Coun Foster said: “I feel Arif Waghat has served his sentence as it were.

“He is a valued councillor, and we respect his integrity. He has signed up to all the principles of the partnership and the group so we want to be able to use his experience and skills.

“Coun Sidat is slightly different. He had personal circumstances that affected his ability to perform as a councillor.

“Those have been resolved and now he is able to perform his duties and has promised to do that.”

Labour leader Kate Hollern said: “It doesn’t surprise me, but I think they both should have resigned.”