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7.4.10 Camden Mayor Asked to Resign


Fresh pleas for Mayor to resign
07 April 2010
THE deputy leader of Camden Council has added to calls for Camden's Mayor to resign in the face of benefit fraud charges.

Councillor Andrew Marshall, leader of the Conservative group and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative run council, said the situation was an "embarrassment".

Mayor of Camden Omar Faruque Ansari, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Kentish Town ward, has been charged by the Department for Work and Pensions with two counts of dishonestly failing to notify a change in his care and mobility needs in 2006, and one count of deception between June 2006 and January 2010.

The Mayor is technically the borough's returning officer for the Parliamentary and council elections on May 6 - responsible for everything from supervising the count to ruling on spoilt ballot papers.

Councillor Marshall said: "I urge Councillor Ansari for one last time to resign in the interests of the borough. Similarly, I urge Camden's Liberal Democrats to try one last time to persuade their Lib-Dem colleague to resign."

Councillor Ansari has refused to give up his position - and has protested his innocence, saying he is entitled to disability benefit because of neck injuries sustained in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Councillor Keith Moffitt, leader of the council and the Lib-Dem group, said: "We have already asked him on several occasions to resign. He also remains suspended from our group." He said Councillor Ansari had not been returning his calls.

As returning officer, his only task would have been to ceremonially read out the results.

Councillor Ansari is not standing for re-election on May 6 and will cease to be mayor on May 22. He is due to appear at City of Westminster Magi-strates' Court on April 16.