Sorry, Cllr Nawaz, you shouldn’t be Peterborough’s mayor

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

Gul Nawaz is set to be the next Mayor of Peterborough. As first citizen of this city he will have an important role to play representing the people who live and pay their taxes here.

Traditionally, it goes to a long serving councillor, who has served the city for many years. It should not be controversial. This year it is.

Cllr Nawaz was convicted of a housing benefit scam and defrauded Peterborough City Council out of £3,053 over an 18-month period.

This happened many years ago – the offences as Cllr Nawaz points out happened in the last century.

He repaid the money he fiddled and served his time – he was sentenced to two months in prison in 2002.

And that, perhaps, should have been the end of the story. But Cllr Nawaz, as is his right, chose not to withdraw from public life.

Since then Cllr Nawaz, a Conservative, has faced the voters of Ravensthorpe at the ballot box and, on more than one occasion, has won their approval.

I have no problem with that. People who make mistakes – even criminal ones – should get a second chance.

But being mayor is not just a job, it’s an honour and someone who has defrauded you and me, the taxpayers, of the city, should not be rewarded in such a manner.

And it doesn’t matter how long ago the crime was committed, nor how much public service he has done in the meantime.

Gul Nawaz should not be the next Mayor of Peterborough.