Local election 2012: Bolt and Kane hold seats, Labour gains two seats in Dewsbury

END OF AN ERA: Khizar Iqbal, who lost his seat in Dewsbury South after 14 years as a councillor. (d03051274)
END OF AN ERA: Khizar Iqbal, who lost his seat in Dewsbury South after 14 years as a councillor. (d03051274)

LONG-SERVING councillors Paul Kane (Lab, Dews East) and Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirf) have been re-elected for another four years.

But Khizar Iqbal, a Conservative councillor who represented Dewsbury South for 14 years, has lost his seat to Labour’s Abdul Patel.

In Dewsbury West, Labour made another gain when candidate Karen Rowling took the seat previously held by the Liberal Democrats.

Its means Labour now holds eight of the nine seats in Dewsbury, while the Conservatives hold all three seats in Mirfield.

Mr Iqbal said he believed this year’s results may have been affected by potential electoral fraud which he reported to the council last week.

“Naturally, I’m disappointed,” he said. “It’s a sad day for democracy in my opinion – not because I have lost – but I believe that elections should be fair and transparent. These elections have reported a number of incidents of postal vote fraud. That is very serious indeed.

“Whether it’s influenced [the Dewsbury South result] or not, we live in a democracy. Whether it’s a cheat by one vote or a cheat by one thousand votes, it is criminal. That’s really my only serious concern.

“I’m happy to take the result. I’ll continue with my political life. I’m not going to walk away.”

Claims of postal vote fraud in Thornhill Lees and Savile Town were reported to police in the run-up to yesterday’s vote.

But a spokesman yesterday said: “Following allegations of voting fraud in the Dewsbury South Ward, officers met with the alleged victims who were unwilling to give statements to the police. There are, therefore, no current lines of enquiry in respect of these allegations.

Following today’s results, the make-up of Kirklees Council is now: Labour, 32; Conservative, 18; Liberal Democrat, 10; Green, 5; Independent, 4.