by Douglas McCall on 1 September, 2014
Following a complaint from another taxi driver it has come to light that the Council issued a licence to a serial rapist about 3 and a half years ago. Investigations showed that he was first awarded his licence in 2011 by a sub-committee chaired by former Conservative councillor Amanda Box, with former Lib Dem councillors Alan Malyon and Robin Bradburn on the Sub-Committee. Lib Dem Cllr Subhan Shafiq, as a friend, attended as a character witness to the driver’s current good character. It is believed that the sub-committee decided to award the license to give the driver a second change due to the historic nature of the offences, they occurred in 1994, and his good character since.
The police contacted the Council in 2012 expressing concern that someone on the sex offenders register was driving a taxi. A second sub-committee chaired by Lib Dem Cllr Stuart Burke, with former Lib Dem Cllr Robin Bradburn and current Lab Cllr Gladstone McKenzie upheld his licence.
The majority of councillors involved in the sub-committees are no longer on the Council, but all serving councillors, Cllr Subhan Shafiq, Cllr Stuart Burke and Cllr Gladstone McKenzie, have accepted their error of judgement and have resigned their positions as Mayor, Licensing Committee Chair and Vice-Chair respectively.
Lib Dems Cllr Subhan Shafiq and Cllr Stuart Burke made the following statements:-
Cllr. Stuart Burke, Chair of Licensing & Regulation
“It is with regret that I have decided to resign as Chair of Licensing and Regulation. It is clear that on reflection I made an error of judgement in taking the decision to grant a taxi license in this particular case. I am pleased that there are now much clearer draft rules on how to deal with applicants that have paid the price for their crime.
I have enjoyed my last four years as Chair of Licensing & Regulation; I would like to thank my fellow committee members and all the council officers who have helped me while I have been Chair. I will continue to work hard for the residents of my ward” ended Cllr. Burke.
Cllr. Subhan Shafiq, Mayor of Milton Keynes
“It is with deep sorrow that I feel that I have no alternative but to resign as Mayor of Milton Keynes as I have lost the confidence of many councillors. Sadly I gave a reference to someone, three and a half years ago, regarding the few years I have known them in Milton Keynes, with hindsight I should not have. Now I am Mayor it is best that I resign as the office of Mayor must be above criticism.
It has been a great honour for me to have been elected Mayor and it is with regret that I have had to resign. I hope that I have served the residents of Milton Keynes well during my short period as Mayor. My wife and I have been so proud to represent this great city of Milton Keynes.
I will obviously continue my work as a ward councillor and represent my residents to the best of my ability” said Cllr. Shafiq.
The members operated within the policies and procedures of the Council, and with advice from professional officers and legal officers, so it is clear that a root and branch review is needed to ensure this cannot happen again”.
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