A former Watford councillor who last week resigned from the town hall has defended his decision to fly back and forth from Dubai.

Azam Razzaq stood down from the town hall on Friday, following criticisms of his decision to try to commute to council meetings from the Middle East.

Mr Razzaq says he was working “temporarily” in Dubai and initially tried to maintain his obligations at Watford Borough Council.

In a statement sent to the Watford Observer, Mr Razzaq said there were “several factors” leading to his resignation.  He said: “Like many British citizens who temporarily spend time working abroad, I have not relocated abroad for good or 'permanently'.

“However, just as importantly many of my residents are already aware I have had major family illness recently including both my father and mother being ill.

“Therefore, my personal as well as business responsibilities mean I now have less time available for my duties as a councillor.

“This has led to a timely rational decision in the interests of my ward's residents.”

Political opponents of Mr Razzaq's, a former councillor for the Leggatts ward, had demanded his resignation when it became apparent he was living thousands of miles from his ward residents.

However, the former councillor has defended his attendance record at council meetings.

He added: “As Mayor Thornhill said, I was involved with my council duties despite difficult personal circumstances and I continued in my role until I believed I could no longer support my residents in my role as councillor.  “Mayor Thornhill is fully aware of the circumstances.  My overall attendance record over three years will reflect that my attendance at council and local meetings has been very good until recent months.

“Most residents understand my situation and support my decision to step down.”

The Watford Observer has this morning requested details of Mr Razzaq's attendance record as a councillor.