Councillor who gave child sex groomer a reference re-elected chairman of Pennine Township
Date published: 29 June 2013
Councillor Aftab Hussain, the highly controversial councillor who gave a positive character reference for Abdul Qayyum, who was one of the nine local men convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, has been voted chairman of Pennine Township for a second year.
The committee's 12 councillors were supposed to elect a chairman for the new municipal year last month, but were unable to agree on who should lead the Township. However, at an extraordinary meeting the deadlock was broken when - by a vote of six to five, due to the absence of one councillor - Councillor Hussain was re-elected.
It is understood that Councillor Hussain's re-election has soured relations on the Township committee.
Conservative group leader Councillor Ashley Dearnley said it would be fairer if an opposition party took the Township chair this year.
Former Pennines councillor, Jean Ashworth, said: "In the past the chair has been shared between all three parties, regardless of who was in power, as this post is supposed to be non-political. Sadly, it has become very political, which is sad for the Pennines and sad for the borough as power seems to have gone to their heads rather than working for the community."
Lib Dem group leader Councillor Andy Kelly put his name forward and said if he was appointed chairman he would recommend the £7,500 allowance due for chairing the committee would be given back to the Pennines.
There was public outrage last year when Councillor Hussain was elected chairman of the committee shortly after the conviction of the man to whom he gave a reference:
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