Burnley councillor defends himself over missed meetings
A COUNCILLOR has defended his position after it emerged he had failed to attend a single council meeting for four months.
Coun Wajid Khan, for Daneshouse with Stoneyholme, did not show up for the first four Burnley Council meetings after the new civic year began in May.
The Labour member, a candidate for next year’s European Parliament election in the North West, put his absence down to illness and working out of the country.
Coun Khan, a lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire, said he remained committed to his constituents and held up to five meetings a week in his ward.
He said: “I was diagnosed with an eye condition, anterior uveitis, which meant I nearly lost my sight, so that has had an impact.
“The reason I am only on the full council and none of the committees is that I knew I would be busy.
“I have a very strong track record since I was elected six years ago and I am absolutely committed to the people who voted for me.
“I am up until midnight sometimes taking calls from residents and I host five surgeries a week.
“From time to time people get ill and miss things.”
Coun Khan did attend the most recent full council meeting on August 28, and Labour leader, Coun Julie Cooper, said he was ‘doing great work for his constituents’.
She added: “I don’t have any worries about Wajid’s attendance record.
“He hasn’t been missing the whole time.
“If he was slacking, I’d be the first to let him know.
“He’s a very talented and capable councillor.”
Liberal Democrat councillor Jennifer Knowles, for Queensgate, has attended just one meeting since May, while Coal Clough with Deerplay councillor Gordon Birtwistle – the borough’s MP – has attended two.
Coun Knowles also had the poorest attendance record in the 2012/13 year, when she attended only 10 out of 26 meetings.
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