New mayor and deputy for Luton Borough Council - but Labour leader unchanged

New mayor Mohammad (Yaqub) Hanif and deputy Zanib RajaNew mayor Mohammad (Yaqub) Hanif and deputy Zanib Raja
New mayor Mohammad (Yaqub) Hanif and deputy Zanib Raja
Two new councillors appointed to mayoral roles at the council’s annual meeting

Labour Lewsey councillor Hazel Simmons has been reappointed leader of Luton Borough Council for the next four years.

Councillor Simmons joined the executive in 2015 and will continue to chair the committee until at least May 2027.

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Labour Poets councillor Aslam Khan will remain her deputy, having taken over the position from former Farley councillor Sian Goding a year ago.

Two new Labour councillors successful at this month’s local elections have been appointed unopposed to the mayoral positions at the local authority’s annual meeting, last night. (Tues, May 23)

Central councillor Mohammad (Yaqub) Hanif is the new town mayor, with party colleague and Biscot councillor Zanib Raja as his deputy.

The mayor’s Twitter account profile describes him as a “Dad, socialist, teacher and National Education Union representative, Naqshbandi Sufi, MUFC and LTFC”.

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The Naqshbandi is a major Sunni order of Sufism, with its name derived from Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari.

Their investiture ceremony has been rescheduled from next month to Monday, July 10 at the town hall, with the two Labour councillors due to remain in these posts for 12 months.

Luton Labour Group posted on social media: “Congratulations to councillors Mohammad (Yaqub) Hanif and Zanib Raja on being confirmed as Luton’s mayor and deputy mayor.

“A massive thank you to Sameera Saleem for her service as mayor and Asif Masood for his work as deputy mayor.”

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The council’s head of communications Adam Kearney tweeted: “Luton has had a wonderful mayor for the last 12 months.

“An absolute diamond in a monumental year with the Queen’s death, the King’s visit to Luton and then his subsequent coronation, and hundreds of engagements in between.

“It’s been a pleasure working with you, madam mayor. Best wishes for the future.”

Councillor Saleem lost her seat on the council at the elections in Barnfield, where she came fifth of the nine candidates contesting that ward.

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In addition to herself and councillor Khan, councillor Simmons has reappointed Fatima Begum, Javed Hussain, Tahmina Saleem, Maria Lovell, Khtija Malik, Rob Roche, Tom Shaw to the executive, along with new appointment James Taylor.

High Town councillor Taylor replaces councillor Goding on the committee, with the majority of the portfolios unchanged.

Appointments of committee chairmen and vice-chairmen were made during the meeting, along with nominations to serve on outside organisations, such as Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel and the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Authority.

The new council has 30 Labour councillors, 15 Liberal Democrats and three Conservatives.