Following a protracted period of of rumour that refused to go away, it can be confirmed that the Labour Group on Stoke-on-Trent City Council has lost a respected serving councillor.
Cllr Mohammed Iqbal resigned from the Labour Group over the weekend and is now sitting as a non-aligned member.
Cllr Iqbal is a community leader in Shelton and is a major figure within the Asian Community, he has worked tirelessly to represent the electorate of Hanley East and Shelton.
His resignation comes after Labour Party members in his area opted to select Cllr Majid Khan for the new council ward of Hanley Park & Shelton.
The new ward was formed following the Electoral Review by the Boundary Committee which proposes a mixture of 33 single-member wards, four two-member wards and one three-member ward. The council will hold all out elections this year.
Cllr Iqbal is expected to contest the Hanley Park and Shelton ward as an Independent.
It has been rumoured that Cllr Iqbal would be joining the Community Voice group but it is likely that he will join an new Independent froup formed out of some serving and past councillors.
Rumours are rife around the corridors of the Civic Centre that Cllr Najmi will follow Cllr Iqbal very shortly.