Tory veteran quits as a councillor

A BY-ELECTION is to be held after veteran councillor Margaret Bates quit with immediate effect due to heath problems.

The Birkenshaw Conservative represented Liversedge and Gomersal from 2000 and was Mayor of Kirklees in 2002-03.

She also served as a councillor for the defunct ward of Spen from 1987-91 and Birstall & Birkenshaw from 1994-98.

The by-election will be on Thursday, June 13, and candidate nominations close at noon on Thursday, May 16.

Residents have until 5pm on Wednesday, May 29, to register to vote or apply for a postal ballot.

Mrs Bates, known for being feisty and outspoken, said: “It was a hard decision but one I had to make for myself and my family.

“If you’re lucky enough you get older. But with age often comes problems and you’ve to decide when it’s best to move on. After a quarter of a century of public service I’ve decided that that time is now. I’ll miss every part of being a councillor.”

Mrs Bates raised money for the Dewsbury, Batley & Spenborough Centre for the Deaf in her year as mayor.

She also served as cabinet member for adults and social care in the Tory administration that ran Kirklees up to 2009.

Kirklees Conservative leader Coun Robert Light said: “This is a sad day. She has been a giant on the council.

“Her interest in issues affecting the elderly and vulnerable has helped shape council policy. Her work has ensured many people in Kirklees have benefited from a much enhanced standard of life.”

Coun Light added: “We were both elected to the council on the same day and Margaret has been an enormous part of my political life.

“She has been a loyal member of the Conservative group, a wonderful mayor and an invaluable friend. We all wish her and her family well.”

For details on registering to vote write to Electoral Services, Council Offices, 49/51 Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, HD9 3ER, call 01484 222400, or e-mail

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