Council leader Mehboob Khan questioned over resignation

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Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan has faced a barrage of questions over his decision to resign.

The Labour councillor announced he will leave his leader post at the end of February for a new job in London.

Coun Khan will become a political advisor at the Local Government Association, specifically working with the London boroughs, the Mayor of London’s office and Westminster.

But Lib Dem councillors demanded answers over how his decision would affect Kirklees at a full council meeting on Wednesday.

As the News went to press, Coun Khan was asked to explain why he chose to step down and, considering the council’s financial difficulties, what did he think residents would make of his decision.

He was also questioned about his resignation when the council currently has no LDF plan in place.

Last weekLib Dem leader Coun Kath Pinnock said the timing of his decision was “terrible”.

“It’s really strange to announce he is leaving the council just weeks before a very difficult budget decision and while the LDF is unresolved,” she said.

“How can any of us actually take seriously any proposal that he makes for the budget, when we know that the day after the budget he is going to disappear? He needs to hand over now and let someone pick up the reins.”

Conservative leader Coun Robert Light said Coun Khan’s legacy was a divided borough. He added: “When Coun Khan took over the leadership in 2009, he inherited an accredited four star council.Five years later he leaves a council in chaos.”

Coun Khan has been council leader for five years and a councillor for 17 years.

When asked about his decision to leave, he said: “I feel the time is now right to move on as I have had a fantastic time as leader of a large council in a time of immense change for local government.

“It has been a privilege to be a councillor for Greenhead ward and leader of my home authority – but it would not be right to be leader forever when it is a role which demands such a huge amount.”

The Labour Party will now select a new leader and the full council will vote to decide if the Labour leader should become council leader.

Heckmondwike councillor David Sheard is the current deputy leader of Kirklees Council.