It is often the case in politics that when lawyers get involved in pursuit of their clients interests, against the wishes of a reluctant party, when it becomes public it doesn’t look good to say the least and is often totally unacceptable, politically!
Rotherham has, it would appear, a good example of just such a case.
Jahangir Akhtar joined labour as an adult in 1990 and despite apparently, the handicap of a prior conviction, now spent, was elected to RMBC as a labour councillor in 2000.
In 2001 Akhtar, his brother and his son were arrested in a Rotherham restaurant. In 2002 they were convicted at Hull Crown Court together with others, of affray. Akhtar escaped a prison sentence, after he produced a vast number of testimonial character references, which impressed the Judge.
Labour suspended him from the Labour Group Whip but not apparently, his labour membership. Although expected to fall on his sword and resign from the Council, upon conviction, he somewhat stubbornly remained on RMBC until his term of office expired in May 2004. Labour fielded an alternative candidate and that was expected to be that!
In plenty of time for the May 2006 elections, Akhtar, had persuaded the labour party that he should be allowed back on the council, after he deployed every weapon of persuasion, in his armoury. He returned to the council, he was re-elected in 2010 and his current term of office expires 2014.
Jahangir Akhtar joined the Police Authority and has been appointed to the new replacement, the Police & Crime Panel. The role of this committee is to support the Police & Crime Commissioner and Akhtar was it’s interim Chair on it’s inception and appointed Vice Chair after it’s first full meeting. At some point around this time, Akhtar’s involvement was apparently referred to and examined in detail by the Police Professional
Standards Department. They concluded at the time that, he is entitled to hold the position. Section 80 (1) (d) Local Government Act 1972 refers, apparently?
This is where the story ends up with our original question, What may be perfectly legal but totally unacceptable politically?
This is the perfect example of this phenomenon in action, it’s a bit like POA on a menu, if you have got to ask the price, you can’t afford it. So it is in this particular case, if they had to check to see if Akhtar was permitted to serve, with the Professional Standards Department, it might have warned someone that his membership of the Police & Crime Panel might not be the smartest idea?
Akhtar has, over the years, acquired two convictions the second for a crime of violence! This alone should have raised alarm bells and the best advice would have been a quiet strategic withdrawal. But no, Akhtar pressed on and, to add insult to injury, is the Police & Crime Panel Vice Chair!
Many readers of Rotherham Politics must be left scratching their heads, at this outrageous situation. Has this man no sense of how this looks outside the Town Hall? Disgraceful arrogance on the part of the labour cabal in the Town Hall, coupled with Akhtar’s hubris.
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