'Sort this mess out' party chiefs are urged

KIRKLEES Council has no functioning cabinet as the leadership crisis rumbles on, it has been revealed.

Coun Steve Hall (Lab, Heckmondwike) said he no longer has the planning and highways brief since the controversy erupted.

He added none of the other senior councillors are in post and branded it a “complete mess”.

Former council leader Coun David Sheard was ousted in an alleged party coup last month.

New Labour group chief Coun Shabir Pandor (Lab, Batley West) was blocked by other parties from taking over as council leader.

Unelected chief executive Adrian Lythgo is in interim charge until a deal can be brokered.

Coun Hall said: “There is no cabinet – presumably Adrian is running things past the party leaders.”

He worries that having passed a budget in February, work implementing that is at risk.

The budget included huge changes to services such as public health and care for elderly and disabled people.

Coun Hall visited his former office but there was nobody there and added: “As a cabinet we had a lot of tough decisions to make.

“They weren’t popular but we had to do it and I think the public saw we were trying to make the best of a bad job.”

He said of council limbo: “We can’t afford for this to carry on because it’s a complete mess.”

Labour councillors discussed the matters on Monday, ahead of another council leadership vote due on Wednesday, June 29.

Paul Ellis, chairman of the Dewsbury West Labour branch, believes all parties need to get a grip.

He said: “If I was the chief executive, I’d bring the leaders of the three main parities in and tell them they must sort this out.

“It’s unhealthy for the chief executive to be running the council – and officers have their own jobs to do.”

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