Kirklees opposition groups have their say on resignation of council leader Shabir Pandor and outline their hopes for the future

Former leader of Kirklees Council, Coun Shabir Pandor, has been accused of “failing Kirklees residents”, as the district’s opposition groups share their thoughts on his resignation and call for more direction within the local authority.
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On Wednesday night (July 26), Coun Pandor (Labour, Batley West) announced his resignation as Leader of the Council with immediate effect, but he will continue to represent his ward.

The resignation came before a no-confidence vote that had been scheduled by the Labour group.

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It was recently announced that up to 750 redundancies will be made across the council as it attempts to save millions of pounds to dig itself out of a dire financial position.

Batley West ward councillor Shabir Pandor has resigned as Leader of Kirklees CouncilBatley West ward councillor Shabir Pandor has resigned as Leader of Kirklees Council
Batley West ward councillor Shabir Pandor has resigned as Leader of Kirklees Council

Coun David Hall, Leader of the Kirklees Conservatives, said: “I welcome the resignation of Coun Pandor. His leadership of this lacklustre Labour administration has failed the council, its employees, and the residents of Kirklees.

“Coun Pandor and his Labour cabinet, through their inaction over many years, have left the council in a precarious financial position which will result in even poorer services and cost many hard-working council employees their livelihoods.

“I hope that their Leader’s resignation will highlight to the Labour Party that its primary focus should be on providing those core services which are vital to the daily lives of Kirklees residents.

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“We now need a strong Leader of the Council to steer the organisation through the turbulent times ahead, who will act with integrity and in a spirit of cooperation with other Kirklees groups.”

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Coun John Lawson, Leader of the Lib Dem group, said: “Given that the borough is in the most difficult financial situation, probably since it was formed, it was initially a surprise that Coun Pandor should choose now to resign.

“There are many changes at Kirklees right now with great pressures on staff and services, not least because of the recent news of redundancy talks.

“It’s clear from the news of an upcoming Labour vote of no confidence that the Labour administration has had some serious internal issues.

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"We’d hope though that new leadership will bring a sense of urgency and direction that has been lacking.

“I would urge the new Leader to be as open as possible with what needs to happen in council and keep faith with residents by being as accountable as is possible.”

Coun Andrew Cooper, Leader of Kirklees’ Green group said: “Whoever becomes Leader of Kirklees Council, they will inherit some difficult issues to address.

"The council’s significant financial crisis will not just affect the services that the council provides but is likely to have a knock-on effect on the support we provide to communities and to the voluntary sector.

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“The potential loss of up to 750 jobs can only have a negative impact on the service that people get from the council, which is already stretched due to increasing demand and rising prices.

“The council needs a change of culture. We need less tribalism on the council and more cross party working on addressing issues. Labour have not been good at taking on board ideas from other parties.

“We need a joint approach to Government with party leaders coming together to make the case to Government to properly fund local services.

"We may not succeed but we will have a better chance if we speak with one voice.”