Full list of candidates standing in Dewsbury, Mirfield, Batley and Spen at next month's Kirklees Council elections
The 118 candidates set to fight in the local elections in Kirklees have been revealed.
In total 25 seats are being contested across 23 wards, with Golcar and Birstall & Birkenshaw under extra scrutiny as more than one seat is up for grabs following Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat resignations and retirements.
Campaigning was suspended earlier this month following the announcement of the death of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
The local elections in Kirklees will take place alongside the West Yorkshire Combined Authority mayoral election on May 6.
However many expect the majority of voting to take place via post, with physical voting on election day itself reduced to a minimum.
In Kirklees some adjustments have been made to traditional polling stations, with some smaller portable venues altered to bricks and mortar sites to comply with Covid restrictions and safety requirements.
The main count will take place at Cathedral House in Huddersfield, although counting is likely to be broken up into separate, smaller rooms. Access to the counting floor is also set to be limited.
May 6 has been dubbed “Super Thursday” as the country will go to the polls for district, county, metropolitan councils, and police, fire and crime commissioners, as well as the mayoral elections in London and West Yorkshire.
Voting will take place on Thursday, May 6, followed by verification on Friday, May 7. Local counting will be carried out on Saturday, May 8. Counting for the West Yorkshire mayoral election is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 9.
Among those defending their seats are Council Leader and Labour group leader, Shabir Pandor.
Also defending their seats are Labour cabinet members Naheed Mather and Graham Turner, and chairman of the influential strategic planning committee, Steve Hall, also Labour.
The Conservatives’ group business manager Richard Smith and Liberal Democrat veteran and peer Kath Pinnock are also facing challenges, along with Green group leader Andrew Cooper and Independent group leader Charles Greaves.
Here’s a round-up of all candidates, their parties or any affiliations, and which wards represent key “battleground” areas.
Batley East - Dave Carrington (Reform UK), Keiron Gavaghan (Con), James Hansford (Green), Christopher Kane (Lib Dems), Fazila Loonat (Lab).
Batley West - John Duggan (Ind), Stephen Long (Lib Dems), Shabir Pandor (Lab), Lewis Roberts (Con), Jack Senior (Green).
Birstall & Birkenshaw - All the mainstream parties are fielding two candidates following the resignation in November of Charlotte Goodwin, who was elected to represent the Conservatives in 2019. She took 54 per cent of the ballot with 2,000 votes, leaving Labour trailing on 23 per cent. Her seat is up for grabs, along with that of party colleague Mark Thompson.
The candidates are Ty Akram (Green), Gina Harding (Lab), Ross Peltier (Green), Joshua Sheard (Con), David Shepherd (Lib Dems), Julie Smith (Lab), Mark Thompson (Con), Louise Walsh (Lib Dems).
Cleckheaton - Piers Briggs (Con), Joseph Hayat (Lab), Kath Pinnock (Lib Dems), Nicholas Whittingham (Green).
Dewsbury East - Labour veteran Eric Firth was unseated in May 2019 by the Dewsbury Borough Independents’ Aleks Lukic, who took 42 per cent of the ballot and squeaked home with a majority of 71 votes. Coun Firth returned to the council in December 2019 following the death of his party colleague Paul Kane.
Now he faces another challenge from the Dewsbury Borough Independents in the form of Mark Thackray. Sources say the vote will once again be tight, and could go either way.
The candidates are Simon Duffy (Green), Eric Firth (Lab), Dennis Hullock (Lib Dems), Keith Mallinson (Con), Mark Thackray (Dewsbury Borough Independents – Heavy Woollen District), Dan Woodcock (Yorkshire Party).
Dewsbury South - Labour de-selected its councillor Gulfam Asif prior to 2020’s postponed elections, so he has remained in post a year longer than was expected. His replacement, branch secretary Jackie Ramsay, stood as Labour’s candidate in the Denby Dale ward in 2019.
The candidates are Imtiaz Ameen (Con), Marnie Cope (Green), Bernard Disken (Lib Dems), Khizar Iqbal (no affiliation), Jackie Ramsay (Lab).
Dewsbury West - Independent candidate Tanisha Bramwell has been busily building a profile in Dewsbury West over the last 18 months. However she has a lot of ground to make up if she expects to dent Coun Mussarat Pervaiz’s 62 per cent share of the ballot. The Conservatives will be hoping their man Basharat Rafiq will also make inroads into the Labour vote.
The candidates are Tanisha Bramwell (Ind), Simon Cope (Green), Mussarat Pervaiz (Lab), Basharat Rafiq (Con), John Rossington (Lib Dems), Emma Stirling (Yorkshire Party).
Heckmondwike - Itrat Ali (Con), Alan Freeman (Green), Steve Hall (Lab), Josie Pugsley (Lib Dems).
Liversedge and Gomersal - Having served one term, the Conservatives’ Michelle Grainger-Mead is standing down this year. She took 40 per cent of the vote in 2016.
The candidates are Tracey King (Ind), Jude McKaig (Lab), Linda Simmons (Green), David Snee (Lib Dems), Melanie Stephen (Con).
Mirfield - Stephen Bird (Lib Dems), Martyn Bolt (Con), Geoff Kernan (Lab), Catherine Whittingham (Green).