SHABIR PANDOR has vowed to carry on his fight to be the next Kirklees Council leader.
He also challenged rival parties to “put up or shut up” after they quashed his leadership bid on Wednesday.
Coun Pandor said: “They didn’t have a plan in place and have left the council at risk. If they want a leader they should get together and nominate one. If they don’t then they should shut up and let me run the council.”
He added of claims of misrepresentation: “The reason I didn’t respond is because I couldn’t believe they had brought the debate to that level.
“I thought the behaviour of the Tories, Lib Dems and Greens was completely bizarre and outrageous.
“That is not the way to do business and I will not get drawn into making personal attacks.”
But he added: “This has made me stronger – next time I won’t sit back and take that sort of criticism from them.”
Coun Pandor denied Labour is split and said: “Thirty of my members voted for me.” Of the four councillors who were absent due to claims of illness, he said he hoped they get well soon.
He added: “The Labour Party is the Labour Party and we’ll deal with our affairs internally. It shouldn’t be a matter for other parties.”
And Coun Pandor slapped down opposition groups for “playing to the gallery” at the meeting.
He said: “This is why the public don’t engage with politics. They’ll see the webcast and think we just argue among ourselves.
“This is where the impression that we’re in it for our egos and to line our own pockets comes from. Young people in particular are put off by that – and they’re the voters of tomorrow.”
Right of reply not taken up
FAILED candidate Shabir Pandor did not take up a right of reply after his leadership bid was savaged.
Coun Pandor was offered a rebuttal by new Kirklees Council mayor Coun Jim Dodds at Wednesday’s annual general meeting.
But he did not respond to the blunt assessments of Tory, Lib Dem and Green councillors.
Earlier in the debate Tory leader Coun David Hall referred to a war in Labour’s ranks.
He said: “The nomination before us cannot even command the support of his own group, and so cannot expect to command the support of others.”
Lib Dem leader Coun Nicola Turner said her party’s position appeared to have been misrepresented to Labour councillors.
As to whether this was to quell a rebellion in Labour ranks, she said she had been left looking up the word ‘trust’ in the dictionary.
Coun Turner added: “If you can’t get your own party to follow you, how can you ask me to do that with my party?”
The position of the Green Party-Valley Independents also seemed to have been misrepresented.
Group chief Coun Andrew Cooper said: “If the leader can’t tell the truth to his own colleagues, how can he be trusted with the leadership of the council?
“This is a bid of personal ambition, fuelled by promises and secured by patronage.”
‘Coup pair’ left out of ex-leader’s thank-yous
FORMER council leader David Sheard thanked his cabinet for their efforts – but not the two members accused of ousting him.
He paid tribute by name to Cathy Scott, Steve Hall, Viv Kendrick, Graham Turner, Erin Hill and Peter McBride.
Not mentioned were fellow Labour councillors Shabir Pandor and Jean Calvert, following a coup said to involve the pair.
Having been dropped as party leader, Coun Sheard resigned as council chief on Wednesday.
His last act was to sack Coun Calvert and ‘out’ her for being one of several councillors in council tax arrears.
She held the community development brief in Coun Sheard’s nine-member cabinet.
Coun Pandor, previously in charge of leisure services, held the portfolio for schools and learning.
The pair were notably left out of a statement in which Coun Sheard thanked his colleagues.
Couns Scott, Hall, Kendrick, Turner, Hill and McBride appeared to be the six councillors referred to in the statement in which Coun Sheard wrote: “On nearly every day of the week from early in the day till late evening, six members were working in the cabinet rooms on their portfolios and helping each other and contributing to the cross-cutting themes that contributed to the council policies.
“These six members have also been available late into the night and at weekends to explain our policy and direction to anyone who asked.”
The statement added: “The council, like many others in the north, faces a future with only one certainty; things will get worse.
“I hope we have jointly provided a platform for the new leader and new cabinet to steer Kirklees in the coming years.”