Mohammed Khan acclaimed as the first ‘mayor of Milton Keynes from the Lakes Estate'

A committed Christian handed the Milton Keynes mayor’s chain of office to a committed Muslim who used the famous words of a murdered humanist MP to accept the role of first citizen.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 11:42 am
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:10 pm

Wednesday evening’s mayor making ceremony was watched by what was described as the most diverse set of councillors ever to be elected to represent the people of Milton Keynes at the borough council.

Restaurateur Cllr Mohammed Khan (Lab, Bletchley East) took the chain of office from lay preacher and farmer, Cllr Andrew Geary (Cons, Newport North & Hanslope), in a ceremony held at the ballroom at Stadium:MK.

Cllr Khan, who was acclaimed as the first Mayor of Milton Keynes to have grown up in the Lakes estate in Bletchley, spoke of his joy at representing the “incredible borough of Milton Keynes.”

Quoting the words of Jo Cox, the murdered Labour MP, Cllr Khan said: “We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

He spoke of respecting all cultures, and MK’s diversity of spirit.

And dropping in a hint of his infectious laugh and sense of humour he added that this would include uniting Bangladeshi and British cuisine.

He is the manager of an Indian restaurant called the Raj Douth, and the Neath Hill takeaway.

Cllr Andrew Geary, left, applauds his successor Cllr Mohammed Khan

His kitchen’s food has been known to sustain members of the Conservative group whose leader, Cllr Alex Walker (Stantonbury), seconded the motion to formally elevate Cllr Khan from deputy mayor to the council’s top ceremonial role.

Cllr Khan becomes the 48th mayor of Milton Keynes since the borough was created in 1974 and his wife, Lilipa Aktar, becomes mayoress. He was first elected to the council in 2013 and is due to defend his seat next year.

Departing mayor Geary used all his oratorical skills to thank Cllr Khan for his friendship and support during a year that has been challenging both professionally and personally for his family.

Cllr Geary’s daughter Rebecca had been gravely ill during his term in office.

Cllr Andrew Geary hands the chain of office to Cllr Mohammed Khan

He spoke movingly of her fight back to health, and Cllr Khan’s steadfast support if he had to cancel being at events at short notice so he could be at her bedside in hospital.

Cllr Geary also spoke of being the first Conservative mayor not to see the MK Dons relegated.

In proposing her friend to the role, Cllr Emily Darlington (Lab, Bletchley East) said Cllr Khan showed that “anyone in MK can become the mayor”.

“In MK we may come from different communities but we embody the spirit of MK,” she said.

“He will be an amazing mayor, he is one of the pioneers, people who came here to make a better life for his family.”

Cllr Geary was thanked for his year as the city’s ‘covid’ mayor, including by council leader Cllr Pete Marland (Lab, Wolverton).

Cllr Marland praised Cllr Geary for being “a unique man, for a unique challenge, in a unique year.”