Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council logo
Parwaiz Akhtar,
since 18 May 2023
Phil Riley,
since 19 May 2022[1]
Denise Park
since May 2019[2]
Seats51 councillors[4]
Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council composition
Political groups
Administration (30)
  Labour (30)
Opposition (21)
  Conservative (11)
  Independent (10)[3]
Length of term
4 years
Last election
4 May 2023
Next election
Arte et Labore
Meeting place
Town Hall, King William Street, Blackburn, BB1 7DY

Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council is the local authority of Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire. It is a unitary authority, having the powers of a non-metropolitan county and district council combined.


The town of Blackburn was made a municipal borough in 1851. When elected county councils were established in 1889 under the Local Government Act 1888 Blackburn was considered large enough to provide its own county-level services, and so it became a county borough, independent from Lancashire County Council.[5]

A larger Blackburn district was created in 1974 under the Local Government Act 1972, gaining the neighbouring town of Darwen and several other rural parishes, and becoming a non-metropolitan district, with Lancashire County Council providing county-level services.[6][7] The district was renamed Blackburn with Darwen in 1997 and became a unitary authority on 1 April 1998, becoming independent from the county council.[8][9]

Political control

The first election to the reformed borough council was held in 1973, initially operating as a shadow authority until the new arrangements took effect on 1 April 1974. Political control of the council since 1974 has been as follows:[10][11]

Non-metropolitan district

Party in control Years
No overall control 1974–1983
Labour 1983–1984
No overall control 1984–1986
Labour 1986–1987
No overall control 1987–1988
Labour 1988–1998

Unitary authority

Party in control Years
Labour 1998–2007
No overall control 2007–2011
Labour 2011–present


The role of mayor is largely ceremonial in Blackburn. Political leadership is instead provided by the leader of the council. The leaders since 1993 have been:[12]

Councillor Party From To
Malcolm Doherty Labour 1993 Jun 2001
Bill Taylor Labour Jun 2001 13 Jun 2004
Kate Hollern[13] Labour 1 Jul 2004 17 May 2007
Colin Rigby Conservative 17 May 2007 29 Jan 2009
Michael Lee Conservative 29 Jan 2009 14 Sep 2010
Kate Hollern Labour 14 Sep 2010 1 Apr 2015
Mohammed Khan[14] Labour 21 May 2015 8 May 2022
Phil Riley[15] Labour 19 May 2022


The council is based at Blackburn Town Hall on King William Street in the centre of Blackburn. The building was built for the old Blackburn Borough Council and completed in 1856. A tower block annexe was added in 1969, linked to the old building by a bridge. The council also maintains an area office at Darwen Town Hall, completed in 1882 for the old Darwen Borough Council.[16]


See also: Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council elections

Since the last boundary changes in 2018, the council has comprised 51 councillors elected from 17 wards, with each ward electing three councillors. Elections are held three years out of every four, with a third of the council (one councillor for each ward) being elected each time for a four-year term.[17]


  1. ^ "Council minutes, 19 May 2022" (PDF). Blackburn with Darwen Council. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Chief Executive". Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  3. ^ Khan, Shuiab (30 October 2023). "Salim Sidat and ex-Mayor latest to resign over Gaza". Lancashire Telegraph.
  4. ^ "Open Council Data UK - compositions councillors parties wards elections".
  5. ^ "Blackburn Municipal Borough / County Borough". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  6. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Definition) Order 1972",, The National Archives, SI 1972/2039, retrieved 22 August 2022
  7. ^ "The English Non-metropolitan Districts (Names) Order 1973",, The National Archives, SI 1973/551, retrieved 22 August 2022
  8. ^ "Lancashire". Database of Local Government Orders. Local Government Boundary Commission for England. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  9. ^ "The Lancashire (Boroughs of Blackburn and Blackpool) (Structural Change) Order 1996",, The National Archives, SI 1996/1868, retrieved 22 August 2022
  10. ^ "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Blackburn With Darwen". BBC News Online. 19 April 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Council minutes". Blackburn with Darwen Council. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Town hall drama as Labour scrapes back into power". Lancashire Telegraph. 2 July 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  14. ^ Jacobs, Bill (12 May 2015). "Councillor Khan 'privileged' to be new Blackburn with Darwen leader". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  15. ^ Jacobs, Bill (7 May 2022). "Phil Riley 'honoured' to be selected as new leader of borough". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  16. ^ "Town Halls". Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. Retrieved 21 June 2023.
  17. ^ "The Blackburn with Darwen (Electoral Changes) Order 2017",, The National Archives, SI 2017/1270, retrieved 22 August 2022
Awards and achievements Preceded byHammersmith and Fulham LGC Council of the Year 2011 Succeeded bySouthend-on-Sea