Council leader Shabir Pandor declared himself “absolutely delighted” after Labour tightened its grip on Kirklees Council.

Labour had been running the council as the biggest party but it picked up three seats to secure an overall majority.

That means Labour will no longer have to do deals with independents or smaller groups to control the council.

Labour now has 36 seats, the Conservatives 18, the Lib Dems eight, the Green Party three seats and there are four Independents.

All three Cabinet members standing for re-election – Will Simpson (Denby Dale), Cathy Scott (Dewsbury East) and Viv Kendrick (Heckmondwike) – retained their seats.

A Cabinet member who lost his Denby Dale seat last year, Clr Graham Turner, is back on the council as he edged out Liberal Democrat Robert Iredale in Golcar by just 49 votes.

Clr Turner, who has a reputation as a political ‘big beast’, could return to the Cabinet as there’s a key role to fill. The regeneration portfolio is vacant as Peter McBride, who had spearheaded the £210 million Huddersfield town centre Cultural Heart project, has stepped down.

Celebrations for Clr Shabir Pandor and Labour

Clr Pandor celebrated with Labour councillors and supporters outside the count at Cathedral House and said: “I am absolutely delighted with the three seats we have gained but the icing on the cake is the return of Graham Turner, my former Cabinet member. We have a clear plan and it’s a plan of recovery.”

Clr Pandor told Huddersfield Hub he had always been quietly confident of taking overall control – and told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer so on a pre-election visit to Huddersfield.

Clr Pandor said: “I didn’t want to speculate too much but when Sir Keir visited Huddersfield I did say to him that I was quietly confident that we would not only retain our seats but take control of the council and that we would get a good showing.”

The Tories lost a seat overall with Donna Bellamy defeated in Colne Valley by Labour’s Harry McCarthy. There were mixed results for the Conservatives as Tony McGrath ousted Independent Terry Lyons in Holme Valley North but they couldn’t hold neighbouring Holme Valley South where retiring Mayor Nigel Patrick’s seat was taken by Labour’s Moses Crook.

The Lib Dems also lost a seat but Lindley’s Cahal Burke comfortably saw off what was expected to be a tough challenge from Tory David Heathcote.

After his narrow victory Clr Turner said: “It was always going to be a close fight. We have an excellent team across Golcar and the Colne Valley and we had a very positive message. We now have overall control and that is wonderful news for Labour in Kirklees.

“The national picture is excellent too and the Labour party is the only party that can deliver for the country.”

Asked if he might be looking for a return to the Cabinet he said: “That’s not in my gift. That’s up to the leader but I will be happy to serve.”

Tory deputy leader Clr John Taylor said he was sorry to lose hard-working Clr Bellamy but there was a positive result with the election of Clr McGrath.

“It’s disappointing to see Labour firmly in control of Kirklees,” he said. “The result is unfortunate for the people of Kirklees because effectively it means no change. It’s an administration that’s been failing Huddersfield.

“There’s been no investment in the town but suddenly there’s a huge plan to borrow eye-watering sums of money when interest rates are rising. The plan doesn’t take into account increasing costs and inflation and there needs to be a reality check.”

Clr Pandor added: “The visits made by Sir Keir and (shadow chancellor) Rachel Reeves made a massive difference to our message and campaign.

“They understand the problems and reinforced our local message on how we have coped with Tory cuts totalling £200 million, how we have developed an investment budget, how we coped and led on the Covid pandemic and then introduced a recovery budget as we came off lockdown.

Clr Shabir Pandor with Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves (centre) in St George’s Square

“Our £965 million capital programme is the most ambitious and far-reaching we’ve ever seen in Kirklees on top of £295 million investment in housing.

“Nationally we also have a plan to address the cost of living crisis where millions of households will struggle to eat and heat their homes, pay for escalating prices and rising inflation.

“The sense of feeling here in Kirklees is that our residents want change and I believe Sir Keir Starmer is ready to lead our country and be Prime Minister.

“We can’t carry on with the failure of the Conservative government that is now having a direct impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“As leader I will do everything I can to help and support those struggling but we need a Labour government that will lead and develop a vision that addresses the challenges that this Tory government has failed to address since 2010.”

The election count at Cathedral House in Huddersfield

Here are the results in full:

ALMONDBURY (Lib Dem hold)

·                       Maria Ackroyd (Con) 1,275

·                       Barbara Jones (Lab) 840

·                       Alison Munro (Lib Dems) 2,238

·                       Peter Taylor (Green) 286

ASHBROW (Lab hold)

·                       Dafydd Daniel (Con) 1,109

·                       Fran Perry (Lab) 2,315

·                       Manjit Singh (Lib Dems) 213

·                       Brenda Smithson (Green) 447

BATLEY EAST (Lab hold)

·                       Aziz Daji (Workers Party of Britain) 1,611

·                       Simon Duffy (Green) 201

·                       Keiron Gavaghan (Con) 734

·                       David Shepherd (Lib Dems) 152

·                       Adam Zaman (Lab) 2,170

BATLEY WEST (Lab hold) 

·                       Mohammed Laher (Con) 1,087

·                       Stephen Long (Lib Dems) 233

·                       Gwen Lowe (Lab) 2,713

·                       Jack Senior (Green) 233


·                       Tahir Akram (Green) 240

·                       Liz Smaje (Con) 2,104

·                       Julie Smith (Lab) 1,370

·                       Louise Walsh (Lib Dems) 254

CLECKHEATON (Lib Dem hold) 

·                       Piers Briggs (Con) 1,085

·                       John Lawson (Lib Dems) 2,650

·                       Khalid Patel (Lab) 600

COLNE VALLEY (Lab gain from Con) 

·                       Donna Bellamy (Con) 1,988

·                       Jake Marchington (Lib Dems) 542

·                       Harry McCarthy (Lab) 2,509

·                       Julia Norman (Green) 375

·                       Melanie Roberts (UKIP) 106


·                       Isaac Barnett (Con) 1,035

·                       Suzanna Barraclough (Lib Dems) 358

·                       Steve Bradbury (Ind) 182

·                       Chris Green (Green) 341

·                       Jo Lawson (Lab) 2,460

DALTON (Lab hold) 

·                       Dominic Black (Lib Dems) 270

·                       James Easingwood (Con) 1,180

·                       Tyler Hawkins (Lab) 1,941

·                       Clare Walters (Green) 357

DENBY DALE (Lab hold) 

·                       Craig Armistead (Lib Dems) 264

·                       Vicky Rank (Con) 2,283

·                       Michael Shaw (Green) 259

·                       Will Simpson (Lab) 2,879

·                       Jonathan Tilt (Freedom Alliance) 96


·                       Sir Archibald Stanton Earl ‘Eaton (Monster Raving Loony Party) 236

·                       Keith Mallinson (Con) 1,307

·                       Gideon Richards (Green) 164

·                       Cathy Scott (Lab) 1,934

·                       Dan Woodlock (Lib Dems) 311


·                       Masood Ahmed (Lab) 3,069

·                       Sean Guy (Con) 907

·                       Dennis Hullock (Lib Dems) 147

·                       Albert Parker (Green) 217


·                       Ammar Anwar (Lab) 3,268

·                       Sajid Hussain (Con) 1,328

·                       John Rossington (Lib Dems) 229

·                       Nicholas Whittingham (Green) 229

GOLCAR (Lab gain from Lib Dem) 

·                       Trevor Bellamy (Con) 751

·                       Miri Finch (Freedom Alliance) 74

·                       Robert Iredale (Lib Dems) 1,695

·                       Nina Roberts (Green) 309

·                       Graham Turner (Lab) 1,744

GREENHEAD (Lab hold) 

·                       Peter Harrison (Lib Dems) 321

·                       Eileen Marchant (Con) 674

·                       Heather Peacock (Green) 639 

·                       Mohan Sokhal (Lab) 3,179


·                       Itrat Ali (Con) 1,317

·                       Zahid Kahut (Workers Party of Britain) 952

·                       Viv Kendrick (Lab) 1,985

·                       Josie Pugsley (Lib Dems) 309

HOLME VALLEY NORTH (Con gain from Ind) 

·                       Kingsley Hill (Lib Dems) 206

·                       Susan Laird (Reform UK) 63

·                       Ben Lockley (Lab) 1,214

·                       Terry Lyons (Ind) 1,667

·                       Tony McGrath (Con) 1,739

·                       Samuel Midgley (Green) 364

HOLME VALLEY SOUTH (Lab gain from Con) 

·                       Damian Brook (Con) 2,710

·                       Moses Crook (Lab) 3,016

·                       Darryl Gould (Green) 453

·                       Andrew McCaig (Lib Dems) 266

KIRKBURTON (Con hold) 

·                       Waheed Anwar (Lib Dems) 132

·                       Bill Armer (Con) 2,450

·                       Richard Burton (Green) 1,690

·                       Soyeb Yusuf (Lab) 670

LINDLEY (Lib Dem hold) 

·                       Gulfam Asif (Lab) 844

·                       Cahal Burke (Lib Dems) 3,062

·                       David Heathcote (Con) 2,069

·                       Ian Vincent (Green) 233


·                       David Hall (Con) 2,364

·                       Jude McKaig (Lab) 1,274

·                       Linda Simmons (Green) 300

·                       David Snee (Lib Dems) 237

MIRFIELD (Con hold) 

·                       Stephen Bird (Lib Dems) 214

·                       Geoff Kernan (Lab) 1,808

·                       Vivien Lees-Hamilton (Con) 3,020

·                       Catherine Whittingham (Green) 547

NEWSOME (Green hold) 

·                       Karen Allison (Green) 2,360

·                       Bikatshi Katenga (Yorkshire Party) 68

·                       John Roberts (Con) 379

·                       Mohammed Safdar (Lab) 984

·                       Andrew Wilkinson (Lib Dems) 106