Kirklees Council is set to have a new leader after the crisis-hit Labour group voted out Cathy Scott following a turbulent nine months in the role.

Former Cabinet member Clr Carole Pattison challenged Clr Scott for the leadership at the Labour group AGM on Monday night and came out on top in a head-to-head vote.

Clr Pattison, who represents the Greenhead ward in Huddersfield and first became a Kirklees councillor in 2010, was Cabinet member for learning, aspiration and communities under previous council leader Shabir Pandor.

Though Labour remains the biggest party, Clr Pattison doesn’t automatically become council leader and there is expected to be a vote at the council’s annual meeting on Wednesday May 22.

Clr Scott took over the council leadership in August 2023 and faced a £47 million budget black hole and a battle to save the council from bankruptcy.

The conflict in Gaza, and the national party’s early failure to demand a ceasefire, saw tensions rise within the Labour group.


Clr Carole Pattison

Since January five Labour councillors have quit the party, mainly in protest over national leader Sir Keir Starmer’s stance on Gaza.

There were also concerns expressed over Clr Scott’s leadership style with one of the councillors who resigned, Jo Lawson, describing the Labour group as a “toxic swamp.” There were claims that debate was silenced and back-bench councillors felt they had no voice.

Clr Lawson formed a new group on the council, Kirklees Community Independents Group, which helped inflict damage on Labour at the ballot box.

Labour lost four seats at the local elections – and its overall majority – effectively sealing Clr Scott’s fate.

At the Labour group AGM, Cabinet member Clr Graham Turner had been expected to be a candidate for leader but his name didn’t go forward.

Instead he was a candidate for deputy leader but the vote was won by Holme Valley South councillor Moses Crook, the current Cabinet member for housing and highways.

The deputy leader role became vacant as Clr Paul Davies stood down to concentrate on his campaign to become Labour MP for the Colne Valley at the next General Election.

Council leader Cathy Scott set to face leadership challenge after knockout elections blow

Party insiders say that divisions within the Labour group will take time to heal and it’s unlikely there would be any way back for the five councillors who quit the party.

The latest to resign at the weekend was Clr Mus Khan who only two years ago was on a shortlist of four to replace Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman.

Clr Khan voiced strong criticism of Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and his stance on Gaza and questioned whether he had the “moral and ethical standards expected of a potential Prime Minister.”


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