Kirklees mayor-making ceremony to go ahead in May
The next Mayor of Kirklees is to be Nigel Patrick, a Conservative councillor in the Holme Valley.
His wife Judith will be Mayoress. Labour councillor Mahmood Akhtar, who represents Batley East, will be Deputy Mayor.
The formal announcement of Coun Patrick, currently the Deputy Mayor, brings to an end the uncertainty over the role as no change-over happened last year.
That means the current Mayor and Mayoress, Labour’s Mumtaz Hussain and wife Noreen, have been in place since May 2019.
He is the first mayor to serve two terms since Kirklees was formed in the local government reorganisation of 1974.
Frustration over the lack of a transition bubbled over last September when Tories accused the Labour leader of Kirklees Council, Shabir Pandor, of “holding the civic office to ransom”.
Coun Pandor said the event had been cancelled as part of the impact of the Covid-19 health emergency.
He revealed that Labour’s group, constituency and branch meetings were not going ahead, which had prevented the change-over from taking place.
However Conservatives said Kirklees Council was capable of holding a mayor-making ceremony like other authorities and that internal wrangling within the Labour group had prevented it.
The new civic team for 2021-22 has now been formally announced by the council, with Clr Patrick taking over from Clr Hussain when he steps down on May 19.
Coun Patrick has represented the Holme Valley South Ward for almost 20 years. He was elected in 2002 when he was the chairman of Holme Valley Parish Council, having served as a parish councillor since 1995.
Coun Patrick said: “Myself and Judith are both looking forward to meeting up with people and visiting communities across Kirklees again after what had been a difficult year for everyone.
“Hope and optimism has come with the vaccination programme and the once empty civic diary was starting to fill with engagements. The aim is to fill the diary and have a very busy year.”
Outgoing Mayor Coun Hussain said it had been “an honour and a pleasure” to serve the borough.
He said: “We have met so many inspirational people across the borough and witnessed communities come together through difficult times.
“I wish the incoming Mayor and Mayoress every happiness in their new roles.”
Coun Akhtar said: “I look forward to being part of the civic team and working alongside Clr Patrick. It’s an honour to be selected as this year’s Deputy Mayor.”
Coun Patrick has chosen the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue Team as his mayor’s charity.
The voluntary search and rescue organisation covers the southern half of West Yorkshire. A charity, it is often called to assist incidents attended by West Yorkshire Police and the Yorkshire Ambulance service.