LAST night, Mohammed Abbasi joined a very exclusive club.
The 72-year-old Labour city councillor was elected as Oxford’s new Lord Mayor at a ceremony in the Town Hall.
He will be only the second person to be Lord Mayor twice, after he served in the role for two months when city councillor Alan Armitage quit last March.
At the time he became Oxford’s first non-white Lord Mayor.
Mr Abbasi has chosen mental health charity Restore and disability charity Oxfordshire Unlimited as the two he will support during his year.
He said: “I feel very lucky that in a very short period of time I have done this role twice, once by accident.
“I chose Restore because it is in my neighbourhood and charity begins at home. It is between my home and the mosque and I pass it every time I go there. I chose Oxfordshire Unlimited because some of my constituents suggested it.”
Mr Abbasi came to the UK from Pakistan in 1963 and worked as a telephone engineer for the GPO – the predeccesor to British Telecom.
He became Oxford’s first Muslim councillor in 2002 and – apart from a two-year gap – has served on the council ever since.
In 2013, Lib Dem councillor Mr Armitage, who has since left the city council, stood down over “inappropriate” comments made to a schoolgirl in 2012. Mr Abbasi, then deputy Lord Mayor, replaced him for two months. The only other person to serve twice as Lord Mayor was Olive Gibbs, who served in 1974/75, and again in 1981/82 after Henry Nimmo died in office.
Green Craig Simmons was elected to serve as his deputy with Labour’s Rae Humberstone as Sheriff of Oxford.
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