THE Dewsbury Borough Independents will attempt to double their representation on Kirklees Council after the authority decided to press ahead with a Dewsbury East by-election on December 12.
Coun Aleks Lukic, who took the seat off Labour’s Eric Firth in May, had appealed for the deceased councillor Paul Kane’s seat to be left vacant until it was due to be contested in May.
Coun Kane resigned last Monday and was found dead at his home in Bywell Close on Tuesday. A report has been submitted to the West Yorkshire Coroner.
Now a local Hanging Heaton man, Chris Stoner, has come forward to contest the by-election for the DBIs – supported by Coun Lukic.
Mr Stoner, 50, who is married with two children who attend local schools, said: “I have chosen to stand as I believe with a passion in a brighter future for Dewsbury.
“For too long the residents of Dewsbury East have been failed by major parties in Kirklees with a Huddersfield-centric approach to local politics.
“Dewsbury and its residents deserve better. I have become well known within the town for attempting to fight for improvements and holding our local politicians to account. Despite this, we are still the last thoughts in many of Kirklees’ decisions.”
Mr Stoner is involved in two local businesses – Ezmuve Estate Agents, but primarily Thomas Stoner Supplies, an office supplies company with a national contract to the NHS and also local authorities, schools and businesses.
He added: “I am asking Dewsbury East residents to lend me their vote on the yellow ballot paper this December 12 for a different future for Dewsbury.
“We began the fight in May, when my colleague Aleks Lukic defeated Labour and the Conservatives. Another win in the area will give Dewsbury Independents seats on committees affecting our town, instead of the decisions being made elsewhere.
“The fact we are even having this election following the tragedy of Coun Paul Kane is very telling of how these parties and their politicians think.
“We opposed this election out of respect, but they continued anyway.
“But the hard-working people of Dewsbury have already done half the job when kicking out Labour back in May. I hope we don’t let them in via the back door on December 12.”
The Labour Party have not yet publicly announced their choice, while the Conservatives have selected Hanging Heaton resident Keith Mallinson as their candidate.
Business owner Mallinson, 58, has lived in the Dewsbury East ward since 2002, together with his wife Carole, who works as a practice nurse at a local GP surgery.
He said: “I was selected a few weeks back to represent Dewsbury East for the Conservatives in next May’s local council elections and would like to have been running in December under better circumstances. My heartfelt condolences go out to Paul Kane’s family at this difficult time.
“Over the years, I have been disheartened by the total decline of Dewsbury town centre, the ripping up of our green spaces with Labour’s ill thought-out Local Plan for the area and the roads have always been an issue which the council has consistently failed to address.
“As councillor for Dewsbury East, I would campaign to ensure that prompt action is taken on all these issues.”
The Liberal Democrat candidate is former councillor Dennis Hullock.
Nominations close at 4pm today (Friday).