Yardley Lib Dem MP John Hemming was the first to query Mr Khan’s credentials when he posted this question on a website on Monday: "It is being said that the Respect candidate for Sparkbrook is a youth worker on the council payroll. DoesWell, as it turns out, we weren't too far wrong. A by-election is indeed following, but not as a result of any electoral skullduggery.
it sound right that someone employed by the city council should also be a councillor?" His intervention led to lively exchanges, with fellow Lib Dem Martin Mullaney and John O’Shea, Labour’s council candidate in Acocks Green, predicting that any victory by Mr Khan in Sparkbrook would be declared invalid and a by-election would have to follow.
A few days ago, Cllr Nahim Ullah Khan resigned as one of the Respect councillors for Sparkbrook ward in Birmingham. The party's leader and council colleague, Salma Yaqoob issued the following statement
A by-election will soon be called in Sparkbrook ward, Birmingham following the resignation of Councillor Nahim Ullah Khan. Due to personal financial difficulties Nahim is being subjected to Bankruptcy Restrictions Orders and can no longer continue to serve as a councillor.
Cllr Khan was actually declared bankrupt only a few days after his election last year, but changes in the law mean that simple bankruptcy no longer disqualifies you from serving as a councillor. To be disqualified means that you have to have a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order laid against you. These aren't common - an insolvency practioner of my acquaintance can't recall the last one he saw - and they are not applied because of personal financial difficulties, but only
If the official receiver considers that the conduct of a bankrupt has been dishonest or blameworthy in some other way
These can be imposed by a court or the bankrupt can avoid further legal proceedings, admit the unfit conduct and accept the terms of the order by giving a Bankruptcy Restrictions Undertaking - exactly the same thing, just by agreement. These BROs/BRUs are public documents, so the details are available.
And here they are. It seems that Mr Khan neglected to pay tax or National Insurance for the tax years 06/07 and 07/08 - just prior to his election - on a sum in excess of £45,000.
That Nahim Ullah Khan (hereafter referred to as Mr Khan) in the tax years 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 neglected his tax affairs, in that: He failed to register his self-employment with HM Revenue & Customs (hereafter referred to as ‘HMRC’) within three months of initiating trading activities. He failed to submit a self-assessment return, as required by HMRC where untaxed earnings exceed £2,500 per annum, in either 2006/2007 or 2007/2008, whilst in receipt of untaxed earnings totalling £45,800 during these two tax years. He made no contributions for either tax or National Insurance in respect to untaxed earnings totalling £45,800 during 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 and made no enquiries with HMRC to determine whether he was indebted to HMRC in this regard. As a result of his actions, during the tax years 2006/2007 and 2007/2008, he avoided paying tax and National Insurance contributions in respect to earnings totalling at least £45,800 and, further, denied HMRC the opportunity to pursue him for these cumulating liabilities prior to commencement of the current bankruptcy proceedings.
There is a tremendous irony in the constant calls from the Respect councillors for more taxpayers' money for Sparkbrook, whilst one of their number hadn't been paying his fair share and was earning rather more than the average wage for that ward.