Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Birmingham City Council cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality, has announced he is stepping down from his cabinet responsibilities, after ITV News revealed the government’s equalities tsar had raised concerns about his behaviour.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, who was Birmingham City Council’s equality chief, faced accusations of impropriety after a four-year-old girl – who later turned out to be his niece – was asked by teachers at St Clare’s Catholic Primary School to remove her headscarf so as to comply with school uniform. 

Cllr Zaffar, said: “Birmingham is my city and I feel privileged to have served as a cabinet member on my council.

“But after careful consideration and in light of continued media and social media speculation, I have discussed the situation with the leader of the council and I have decided I will step aside from my cabinet role with immediate effect

“I will be asking the city council to commission an independent review into all current and historical speculation against me.

“Clearly this speculation is a distraction for Birmingham City Council at a time when John Clancy’s administration has important work to do. So I believe this is the right decision.

“I want to thank Cllr John Clancy for giving me the honour of serving this great city as a cabinet member. I look forward to continuing to represent the people of Lozells and East Handsworth in my capacity as a ward councillor and I will continue to serve the city that has given me so much.”

Leader of the Council, Cllr John Clancy said: “I want to thank Waseem for his service to the city as a cabinet member. While this has been a difficult decision for him I fully understand why he is stepping aside at this time.”

Birmingham City Council will announce a new cabinet member for transparency, openness and equality in due course.

(Image: ITV News)