The newly appointed deputy Mayor of Luton has told BBC Three Counties radio that he regrets taking part in a Prayer Meeting in a private garden during lockdown in 2020.
His actions occurred after both Blackburn and Luton were identified in July 2020 as areas of concern by Public Health England, due to high infection rates.
Asif Masood, a Labour councillor in Luton, said he was sorry for having attended a prayer meeting in a private garden on 21 July 2020. He said that when more than six people had arrived he “should have gone home”.
The lockdown breach was discovered just a few days after it had taken place. Along with Masood was then-Luton mayor, Tahir Malik and another councillor, Waheed Akbar. The breach led to a council adjudication panel meeting to investigate the incident.
The panel concluded that no formal sanctions would be imposed as it could only take action on the breach of code of conduct when councillors were acting in an official capacity. As they were at a private prayer meeting, they had no jurisdiction. Despite this, Mayor Malik stepped down from his role.
Mr Masood said he had donated about £800 to two Luton charities as a result.
Putting the past incident behind him, he said he wanted to “do something better for this town” in his new role, and “I am making amends.” He wants to concentrate on “dealing with issues involving knife crime and drugs”.
Councillor Masood was officially appointed deputy mayor by Luton Borough Council on 14 June 2022.