Sheard is re-elected as Kirklees Labour councillors put differences aside

Kirklees Council leader David Sheard.
Kirklees Council leader David Sheard.

David Sheard has been re-elected as leader of Kirklees Council - just weeks after being ousted from the role by his Labour colleagues.

The authority had been without a political leader since May after the local Labour group - the largest single party on the council - voted coun Sheard out as its own leader.

Shabir Pandor.

Shabir Pandor.

Kirklees Labour replaced him with coun Shabir Pandor, who was then put forward to lead Kirklees Council.

But it backfired when opposition groups on the council joined forces to block coun Pandor’s election.

Now, after rival Labour put their differences aside, coun Sheard is leader again - with coun Pandor as his deputy - of both Kirklees Labour and the council.

Their appointments were made after at turbulent few weeks in which the murder of Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox shocked the world.

Britain voted to leave the European Union last week in a dramatic referendum which led to Prime Minister David Cameron’s resignation and both Labour and the Conservatives facing national leadership elections.

In a joint statement after Kirklees Labour met on Monday, councillors Sheard and Pandor said: “Since annual council just a few weeks ago, unforeseen events both locally and nationally have shocked and appalled us.

“Whatever has gone before between us is resolved and we believe it is right for Kirklees Labour, as the largest group on the council, to come together as quickly as possible and provide strong leadership for local people.”

The Labour group elected councillors Sheard and Pandor as leader and deputy leader on Monday. They were appointed to the same positions on Kirklees Council at a meeting on Wednesday.

The council said in a statement: “These are unprecedented times for Kirklees, times in which we can only achieve positive outcomes by building positive relationships, politically and with our richly diverse communities.”