Burnley Council Election 2022: 'Provides us with stability' – Labour leader happy with party's strong defensive showing

Burnley Labour leader Afrasiab Anwar said it would have been nice to gain one or two seats at this year’s Burnley Council election, but he was happy to leave the count unscathed.
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At last year’s election, Labour lost four seats to take its total number of councillors down to 18 – five short of an overall majority.

The party, which was defending seven seats this time out, comfortably won all seven, including in Coun. Anwar’s Bank Hall ward.

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Coun. Afrasiab AnwarCoun. Afrasiab Anwar
Coun. Afrasiab Anwar
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Turnout across most wards, and nationally, has been low which is down I think to a general apathy with politics. And it goes to show that even though we have had a reasonably good day today, and a good campaign, we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

"We were defending a large number of seats; on a perfect day I would have liked to have gained one or two, but the fact is, what this does is provide us with stability, especially after the last 12 months we’ve had, and the damage the ‘coalition of chaos’ did.

"So from our point of view, it’s a step in the right direction and we can move forward and build from here.”

Coun. Anwar was appointed council leader last May after a deal was struck between the Labour and Liberal Democrats to form a joint administration. As neither party’s situation has changed, discussions will now take place in the ensuing days to see if this agreement continues for another 12 months.

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"I’ve absolutely loved the last 12 months,” said Coun. Anwar. “Initially it was a case of being thrown in the deep end but I’m learning as I go along. It’s about making sure we don’t get complacent, having a good, strong team around me and doing the best we can for the borough.”

His leadership has also been given the seal of approval by Coun. Mark Townsend who stepped aside a year ago to take on mayoral duties.

"Coun. Afrasiab has been doing a brilliant job as leader. He has my full support and I expect him to carry on for a number of years. I have no intention of challenging for the leadership. I’m delighted at the year I’ve had as mayor and now I’m going to be a humble back bencher.”