By-election called in the Batley East ward as jailed councillor resigns from Kirklees Council

Jailed Labour councillor Fazila Loonat has resigned from Kirklees Council, with a by-election called in the Batley East ward.
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Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, August 31.

In May’s local elections, the Batley East seat proved highly competitive, with Labour pipping the Conservatives to the post.

After multiple recounts, just 14 votes separated Labour’s Habiban Zaman, and Conservative candidate Hanif Mayet, leaving it difficult to speculate who will be triumphant in the upcoming by-election.

The by-election will be held on Thursday, August 31The by-election will be held on Thursday, August 31
The by-election will be held on Thursday, August 31
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The resignation of former councillor Fazila Loonat has eliminated the earlier uncertainty around the future of her seat.

After her sentencing, Ms Loonat’s role in the Labour Party and Kirklees’ Labour group was unclear, with Leader of the Council, Coun Shabir Pandor, getting a grilling from the Tories at a full council meeting.

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Following the meeting, it was clarified that Ms Loonat was subject to an “administrative suspension” and still technically a Labour member with a seat on the council, despite being behind bars.

Ms Loonat was jailed on June 6 at Bradford Crown Court where she and her partner pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after attempting to dodge a penalty for a speeding offence.

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The court heard how Ms Loonat provided the police with false statements and she was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison as a result.

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “A by-election will be held for the Batley East ward on Thursday, August 31. This follows the resignation of a councillor for the ward.

"The notice of election is now published on the council’s website, where residents can also find out how to vote or apply for a postal vote.”