News that Labour councillor Aftab Hussain has been 'promoted' to Chairman of the Pennines Township Committee has been hugely unpopular amongst the townsfolk of Rochdale,Lancashire
Disgracefully, Hussain gave a glowing character reference for Abdul Qayyum, one of the 9 Muslim sex beasts who were convicted of conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child.
Both Hussain and ex-mayor Zulfiquar Ali, who stepped down, appeared as character witnesses for Qayyum.
Ali has since backtracked and called his decision as a “silly mistake”. Hussain, however, remains in his position as a Labour councillor in the Firgrove and Smallbridge ward, and is now chairman of a Township committee.
When asked their opinions on Hussain’s continuation in the role, the people of Rochdale were united in registering their disgust.
A Mr Harris, who works in the town centre, said: “It’s just Rochdale all over, it’s an absolute joke. He should have been sacked, never mind standing down. It infuriates me.”
Richard Brockley said: “I don’t think he should have kept his job, and I don’t think he should be earning any more either. I think it’d be the same though in any other town.”
Another resident who wished to remain anonymous said: “He should have been out of the job the moment he wrote the letter.
This town only protects certain people, and we can’t do anything about it. Have the police just turned a blind eye?”
One of the essential roles of a councillor is that of a communal parent, a role that gives responsibility to all councillors for the welfare of Rochdale’s children.
Jean Ashworth, an ex-councillor said: “Corporate parenting is one of the most important roles a councillor undertakes. It involves protecting, supporting and being there for all vulnerable children.
“Councillor Hussain should have known better than to support a suspect. Is an apology enough?At the end of the day the man was convicted – Hussain has gone against this poor girl.”