Council leader Cathy Scott has sensationally quit the Labour Party so she can ditch party politics and lead a “fresh start” for Kirklees Council.

Clr Scott, who was replaced as Labour group leader after the party lost its overall majority in the local elections, had been expected to step down.

However, at the council’s annual meeting, Clr Scott announced her resignation from the Labour Party so she could attempt to form a new cross-party Cabinet.

Clr Scott was elected council leader until 2026 and has decided the time is right to find a new way to run the council and try to restore trust in politics.

Clr Scott said: “As leader my duty is to ensure that this council’s interests are protected, its operations are effective and its reputation is upheld on behalf of the people of Kirklees.

“No party holds a majority in this chamber and we cannot afford for a period of uncertainty, poor behaviour and tribal bickering. Our focus must remain steadfastly on our communities and the needs of the borough’s people.


“The council, like many others, is facing severe financial challenges. This is well known yet sometimes I wonder if people in this chamber actually understand the full gravity and actually appreciate it.

“Under my leadership the council has painstakingly achieved a balanced budget. This must be maintained and further steps will be necessary with some decisions needing to adapt as circumstances evolve.”

Clr Scott said it was time for change and added: “It’s time for a new era of collaboration and transparency.

“Many within this council and among the public have long called for this but the conditions have never been right. Now, with a leader ready to make it happen, the time has come.”

Clr Scott’s announcement came just minutes after more Labour councillors quit the party. Clr Habiban Zaman (Batley East) resigned from the Labour Party along with her son Clr Adam Zaman (Batley East) over the party’s response to the conflict in Gaza. Two more councillors also reportedly resigned.

In her speech Clr Scott immediately announced Clr Habiban Zaman as Cabinet member for children’s services, effectively sacking Clr Viv Kendrick at the same time.

Clr Scott said her Cabinet would begin its work immediately and she would appoint up to seven additional Cabinet members “as soon as possible.”

She added: “I invite all councillors, regardless of your political affiliation, to discuss how you can contribute to these positions and find a new way of working.

“These discussions should take place within the next 10 days to ensure a full Cabinet is operational swiftly.”


Labour leader Carole Pattison (front) with Habiban Zaman (extreme left, second row) at the annual meeting

Clr Scott said politics was broken and Kirklees needed a “fresh start.”

She added: “Having served in various roles within the council for many years I’ve come to realise that the current party political system is beyond reform.

“It’s weighed down by excessive baggage and a history of poor behaviour and abdicated responsibility. We all share the responsibility and it’s time to take stock.

“I’m ready to lead a fresh start and I urge everyone in good faith to join me in achieving the best possible balance to reflect Kirklees in its complexity and in a non-partisan manner. This path is not easy.

“The residents of Kirklees, like many across the country, are disillusioned with the current political system and often hold politicians in low regard.

“The rise of the independent councillors nationwide speaks volumes about this sentiment. I am committed to trying something better. The real question is how, and how many of you will join me.

“To the residents of Kirklees I want to assure you this is borne out of my unwavering commitment to you.

“We face unprecedented times and I believe that by uniting as one council we can harness our collective strength and overcome the challenges ahead.

“We cannot go on like this driven by uncontrollable thirst for power at all costs. It’s everyday lives and our residents that matter, not party politics.

“People are yearning for solutions and hopefully futures for their children. It’s time to make a stand about what truly matters.

“I look forward to leading a new administration with the integrity, vision and unwavering focus on delivering for the people of Kirklees.”

The Labour group lost four seats at the local elections, and as many as 10 Kirklees councillors have now resigned from the national Labour Party since January.

At the annual meeting the new Labour group leader Clr Carole Pattison pushed for an extraordinary full council meeting to be called for June 12 so she could put forward a vote of no confidence to remove Clr Scott.

At the same meeting two more serving Cabinet members – Clr Graham Turner and Clr Moses Crook – both quit the Cabinet saying they could no longer work with Clr Scott.