The mayor of Luton has stepped down after breaking lockdown rules to attend a large gathering.
Tahir Malik said he regretted his actions, which were “below the standard of my position”, adding: “There is no excuse for what I did.”
Footage emerged last month of Malik at an outdoor gathering on 21 July with his fellow councillors Waheed Akbar and Asif Masood and about nine other men. The coronavirus guidelines in England at the time stated people could only meet with others from different households outdoors and in groups of up to six.
In a statement at the time, the councillors said: “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.”
Luton said it had received a number of complaints about the three councillors, which it was addressing.
After his resignation, Malik said: “[I] would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Luton for attending this gathering which was in breach of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. There is no excuse for what I did – I should have known better and I accept full responsibility for my actions.
“I have learnt a valuable lesson from this, but I hope the consequence of my actions serves as a reminder to the people of Luton of the importance of following the Covid-19 guidelines as it remains a real and serious threat.”
The leader of Luton council, Hazel Simmons, thanked Malik for his service as mayor, but said stepping down was the right thing to do. “He made a mistake which he deeply regrets, and I know he and his family are really hurting right now,” she said.
“What has happened is unfortunate, and I think it is right for him to step down at this time, but it’s important to recognise the fantastic contribution he has made to Luton.”