BATLEY West councillor Shabir Pandor is taking control of Kirklees in the wake of Labour’s local election victory.
Coun Pandor is set to become the district’s new leader after current council chief David Sheard announced he was stepping down.
Coun Sheard (Heckmondwike) is due to retire and won’t stand for re-election next year, but will now become Coun Pandor’s deputy for 12 months in order to give him a smooth transition into the role.
Labour councillors voted in favour of the change at a group meeting at Dewsbury Town Hall on Monday night.
Coun Viv Kendrick (Heckmondwike) was also in the running for the top job after getting the backing of Coun Sheard, but Coun Pandor garnered enough support to claim victory.
With Labour now having a majority in the council chamber following last week’s local elections, Coun Pandor won’t need support from other parties to officially become leader.
A full council meeting is being held on May 23, when Coun Pandor will be elected with the backing of his Labour colleagues even if Conservative, Lib-Dem and Green councillors vote against him.
The news comes two years after Coun Pandor temporarily toppled Coun Sheard as leader of Kirklees in a ‘coup’ orchestrated by members of his own party.
Labour councillors narrowly voted in favour of making Coun Pandor the new party leader, but ousted Coun Sheard then accused him of lying and saying he only wanted “a cabinet based on ethnicity”.
Coun Pandor’s plan backfired weeks later when he failed to get elected at a full council meeting and Coun Sheard was reinstated, with Coun Pandor as deputy.
There were claims that the Labour group was divided following the revolt but now the pair say they have put aside their differences.
Coun Pandor said: “David and I have worked very closely together and had a shared portfolio in the backdrop of the huge challenges we face.
“It’s a partnership and this will continue.
“Me and David have been working together for the last few years and David has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge and I will continue to learn from him.
“We’re going to continue to work with the Labour group and continue our programme of making sure we improve our children’s services, we deliver the Local Plan for the much-needed growth in terms of economic growth and housing development.
“We’ve progressed to some degree, at the same time we need to make sure that we deliver on Labour Party values and working with all the council because every single councillor is important in how the council works – and I look forward to that.”