By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
THE FOUR main parties in Kirklees are each fielding a full slate of candidates as more than 100 election hopefuls go head-to-head for 23 seats across the borough.
And as Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens prepare to do battle they will have to contend with candidates from the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in a third of district wards.
There will also be a showing from Independents (4), Democrats and Veterans Party (2), Batley Borough Independents – Heavy Woollen District (1), and Dewsbury Borough Independents – Heavy Woollen District (1).
A number of seats have been vacated as councillors – some of them long-standing veterans – step down.
They include former Conservative group leader Robert Light (Birstall and Birkenshaw), who resigned last year prior to joining the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise as its head commissioner, and current Labour group leader David Sheard (Heckmondwike), who has been a councillor since 1982.
Coun Sheard, who joined Kirklees Council as a work study officer in 1975 prior to election, was later deputy leader of the council and also leader of the council until 2018.
Other members leaving the council are Labour’s Judith Hughes (Almondbury), Marielle O’Neill (Batley West) and Edgar Holroyd-Doveton (Holme Valley North), the Lib Dems’ Gemma Wilson (Lindley) and the Greens’ Julie Stewart-Turner (Newsome).
Voters go to the polls on May 2.
Here’s a guide to who is standing in North Kirklees, listed in alphabetical order:
Keiron Gavaghan: Conservative
James Hansford: Green Party
Clare Kane: Liberal Democrats
Habiban Zaman: Labour
*Seat currently held by Labour’s Habibab Zaman.
Paul Halloran: Batley Borough Independents – Heavy Woollen District
Yusra Hussain: Labour
Christopher Kane: Liberal Democrats
Martin Pelan: Green Party
Paul Young: Conservative
*Seat currently held by Labour’s Marielle O’Neill, who is stepping down.
Birstall and Birkenshaw:
Charlotte Goodwin: Conservative
Christopher Green: Green Party
Catherine Pinder: Labour
Louise Walsh: Liberal Democrats
*Seat formerly held by Robert Light, a former Conservative group leader, who stepped down last year.
Khalid Patel: Labour
Andrew Pinnock: Liberal Democrats
Madeline Poutney: Conservative
Linda Simmons: Green Party
*Seat currently held by the Liberal Democrats’ Andrew Pinnock.
Eric Firth: Labour
Sean Guy: Conservative
Dennis Hullock: Liberal Democrats
Aleks Lukic: Dewsbury Borough Independents – Heavy Woollen District
Gideon Barry: Green Party
*Seat currently held by Labour’s Eric Firth.
Marnie Cope: Green Party
Nosheen Dad: Labour
Bernard Disken: Liberal Democrats
Charlie Reid: Conservative
*Seat currently held by Labour’s Nosheen Dad.
Jon Bloom: Liberal Democrats
Simon Cope: Green Party
Farmida Ishaq: Conservative
Darren O’Donovan: Labour
*Seat currently held by Labour’s Darren O’Donovan.
Aafaq Butt: Labour
Alan Freeman: Green Party
Helen Gavaghan: Conservative
Alan Girvan: Independent
Josie Pugsley: Liberal Democrat
*Seat currently held by Labour’s David Sheard, a former leader of Kirklees Council, who is stepping down.
Liversedge and Gomersal:
Lisa Holmes: Conservative
Jude McKaig: Labour
David Snee: Liberal Democrats
Nicholas Whittingham: Green Party
*Seat currently held by the Conservatives’ Lisa Holmes.
Stephen Bird: Liberal Democrats
Keiron Dunn: Labour
Kath Taylor: Conservatives
Catherine Whittingham: Green Party
*Seat currently held by the Conservatives’ Kath Taylor.