Heckmondwike councillor David Sheard has been elected as leader of Kirklees Labour group.
Coun Sheard, who was deputy to leader Coun Mehboob Khan, took over following his election at Labour’s group meeting on Monday.
Coun Khan announced his intention to step down as leader of the council and group last month to pursue a career as political advisor at the Local Government Association in London.
Coun Sheard has been a councillor for Heckmondwike for more than 30 years, serving all the major council committees as well as being a member of the valuation tribunal for England and a member of the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust.
There will now be a vote at full council on February 19 to change the constitution to allow the deputy leader to act as council leader until a formal council leadership vote in March.
Coun Sheard said: “It’s not something I looked towards. It’s not the best time to be the leader of any council, and it’s a hell of a task in front of us, but I’m willing to have a go at it.
“My main priorities are trying to make the council fit for purpose, given the massive changes we are going to have to make, and getting more members involved so they have all got a part in what we’re doing.
“The main project is the budget over the next three years.”