A BY-ELECTION has been called after a councillor resigned on the day he was to be expelled from the town hall.

Yusuf Sidat returned to Blackburn town hall on Christmas Eve to hand in his resignation.

The former Liberal Democrat had been slammed for spending the past four months in India, and last attended a council meeting in June.

Under the council’s constitution, a member who fails to attend a meeting in six months is expelled – and Coun Sidat’s six months was up on Christmas Eve.

Council chief executive Graham Burgess confirmed that Coun Sidat, who had already been thrown out of the Lib Dem group, had resigned.

The by-election in the Queen’s Park ward will take place on February 4.

The results will be known the following day.

Labour holds the other two seats in the ward, and group leader Kate Hollern said: “We will fight it like any other.

"But the people of Queen’s Park have been without a Lib Dem councillor for so long.”

Salim Lorgat, chairman of Blackburn Liberal Democrats, said: “You can’t judge everyone on one person.

"There are lots of Lib Dems working very hard in their wards.”