Three Luton councillors 'apologise unreservedly' after breaching lockdown rules at party

The Labour Party is investigating complaints that three Luton councillors including the mayor broke social distancing rules.

Friday, 24th July 2020, 5:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th July 2020, 1:16 pm

Mayor of Luton Cllr Tahir Malik, Cllr Waheed Akbar and Cllr Asif Masood attended a large gathering where social distancing was not being followed, and face masks were not worn.

Pictures of the event caused outrage after they were shared on Facebook.

On one image, Cllr Malik is seen with a face mask hanging beneath his face.

Another of the images shared online

Luton has currently been earmarked as an "area for intervention" by the government after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

In a statement to the media, the three councillors stated: “We apologise unreservedly to the people of Luton for our breach of the lockdown rules.

“We attended what we believed was going to be a small socially distanced gathering, in line with the government guidelines.

"During the course of the event, the arrival of additional guests meant the rules were breached.

"We should have left immediately, and it is a matter of sincere regret for each of us that we did not do so.

“It is all of our responsibility to follow the guidelines. We are sorry that we did not live up to the standards that are rightly expected of us.”

A spokesman from the eastern branch of the Labour Party confirmed it was looking into the breach.

They stated: “It is essential that everybody follows social distancing measures in order to protect the public from Covid-19. It is even more important for those in positions of authority to be setting the right example.

“The Labour Party investigates all complaints received and where rules have been breached, action will be taken in line with the Labour Party’s processes.”

Luton Borough Council is understood to have been waiting on a decision from the Labour Party, before initiating any standards procedures of its own.

A LBC spokesman said: "The council has received complaints concerning the alleged conduct of three councillors. We take all such complaints extremely seriously and an investigation into their alleged behaviour will be started and a decision arrived at."

The council wishes Luton residents to stick to the following practices:

> Stay at home as much as possible;

> If meeting up with others, do so outside,

> Don’t meet in large groups – people should not gather outside in groups greater than six individuals (unless they are from the same household);

> Keep a 2 metre distance from people outside of your household at all times;

> Wash your hands regularly;

> Wear a face covering in all enclosed public spaces where it is difficult to keep 2 metres apart;

> Book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus and self-isolate if you have any symptoms, however mild.