Batley West's Shabir Pandor re-elected as leader of Kirklees Council
Labour's Shabir Pandor said he is “humbled” to be able to continue as leader of Kirklees Council.
Coun Pandor secured a narrow victory at Wednesday evening’s annual general meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall as the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens and an independent combined to oppose his re-election.
The Tories put forward their own candidate, group leader Coun David Hall, but did not secure enough votes.
When it came to Coun Pandor, the entire Labour group pledged its support along with former Labour member Coun Lesley Warner, who quit the party last year and is now an independent.
Two members of the three-man Holme Valley Independents abstained.
That meant Coun Pandor was re-elected on a 34-30 majority. Two Tories and the third Holme Valley Independent were absent and did not vote.
Speaking after the meeting, Coun Pandor said he was “delighted” with the result and promised to “work more broadly” with other groups.
He said: “I am humbled. I want to thank everyone that voted for me.
“Putting the leadership aside I will continue to work on a cross-party basis. Let’s make sure that we make Kirklees the best borough in the country.”
The council’s AGM came just a fortnight after the local elections, the results of which left Kirklees Council under no overall control.
The political make-up of the authority is now:
Labour – 33
Conservative – 19
Liberal Democrats – 9
Green – 3
Independents (Holme Valley) – 3
Other Independents – 2
Speaking after the vote Coun Charles Greaves, who was one of two Holme Valley Independents to abstain, therefore ensuring Coun Pandor’s re-election, said he and colleague Terry Lyons “refused to be drawn into pledging allegiance” to either Labour or the Conservatives.
He added: “Our current political system requires there to be a leader who then selects their cabinet and runs the council.
“If there is no leader, the chief executive takes control until a leader is chosen.
“We went through this process five years ago and it still resulted in the same outcome.
“Regardless of how people feel about it, a leader must be chosen sooner or later, if not this meeting, then the next.
“To pretend otherwise is to show ignorance of how the council is governed and to lie to the public – and we will not do that.”