Today (June 1) The Star revealed that Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Labour cabinet member for City Futures: Development, Culture and Regeneration, is being investigated following allegations made by former SCC officer and head of city centre regeneration Simon Ogden.
Making the allegations, which Coun Iqbal ‘robustly denies’, Mr Ogden submitted a complaint accusing him of ‘a repeated succession of inappropriate behaviour’ which broke codes of conduct and ‘held the regeneration of Sheffield City Centre back’.
Sheffield City Council acknowledged that there is an investigation ongoing but has declined to comment further.
Now, Sheffield’s Liberal Democrats are calling on Leader of the Council Terry Fox and Green Party councillor Douglas Johnson, the leaders of both parties in the Coalition that now governs Sheffield, to suspend Councillor Mazher Iqbal from his post in the Cabinet while the investigation takes place.
Sheffield Lib Dem Leader Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed said: “These are very serious allegations that could damage the reputation of our city and the confidence of those seeking to invest in the city. Those in senior positions in the Labour/Green coalition that now govern Sheffield need to suspend Councillor Mazher Iqbal from his cabinet position for the duration of the investigation.
“This is the first major test for Sheffield’s new ruling Labour/Green coalition and their promise to govern in a new open and transparent way. Are Councillors Terry Fox and Douglas Johnson comfortable with Councillor Mazher Iqbal remaining in the Cabinet while these very serious allegations are being investigated?
“Serious allegations require a serious response. The Labour/Green coalition Leadership must put the city’s reputation first and suspend Councillor Iqbal from the Cabinet until the investigation is complete.”
Allegations against Coun. Iqbal include meeting with developers without other officers present, and the repeated delay and last-minute cancellation of public consultations, at the cost of tens of thousands to the taxpayer.
Councillors Fox and Johnson have both been contacted for comment.