Councillor Farooq Ahmed reinstated
Date published: 22 February 2012
Councillor Farooq Ahmed
Councillor Farooq Ahmed has been reinstated into the Labour party and his position as finance portfolio holder on the Council Cabinet after a police investigation concluded that no action would be taken over a video that emerged earlier this year purported to show him smoking cannabis.
Councillor Ahmed was suspended by the Labour party, and from his Council Cabinet position, whilst an investigation took place.
Speaking exclusively to Rochdale Online, Councillor Ahmed, said: “I feel great. I am really pleased with the news.”
The video, that was three years old, emerged in January. It was alleged that Councillor Ahmed was smoking cannabis and on the video he can be seen “playing along” with friends and making comments that he described himself as “silly”.
Initially Councillor Ahmed wanted to resign, but following overwhelming public support he decided to stay.
He said: “I want to thank the people of this town. The support which was given was phenomenal.
“I was ready to resign and they were the main driving force that brought me back.”
Councillor Ahmed expressed his gratitude to members of the public.
He added: “My partner, Shefali Begum, stood by me and kept me going. I also want to thank the Leader (Colin Lambert) who stood by me and the members of my group, apart from one or two, who supported me.”
Councillor Ahmed continued: “It has been a learning curve for me and from now on I will be careful in my private times with what I say, not just publicly, but when I am amongst friends.”
“I continued doing finance behind the scenes, because I knew I had done nothing wrong.”
A Labour Party North West spokesperson said: “Labour North West has conducted an investigation surrounding the video clip in which Councillor Farooq Ahmed appeared and his suspension has now been lifted.
“Councillor Ahmed categorically denied any wrong doing and the police have confirmed that no further action will be taken.
“We note that Councillor Ahmed accepts his comments in the video were inappropriate and he has apologised for any embarrassment caused.”
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police, said: “An investigation was carried out by another division within Greater Manchester Police, which concluded there was no evidence for any further police action.”
Councillor Ahmed maintains that the sudden emergence of the video was part of a “smear campaign orchestrated by Simon Danczuk”, Rochdale MP and Councillor Ahmed's Labour party colleague.
Mr Danczuk has been invited to comment.
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