“WE want to carry on.”
That was the message today from Kirklees Council’s Conservative leader.
Clr Robert Light told the Examiner that his party should continue running the district following last Thursday’s election.
Twenty-three of the council’s 69 seats were up for grabs.
The Conservatives picked up two seats to take their total to 22, overtaking Labour to become the largest party.
Labour slipped from 22 to 21 while the Lib Dems increased their number of councillors from 18 to 19.
The make-up of the nine-member Cabinet which runs Kirklees will be decided at a meeting of all 69 councillors on Wednesday, May 21.
Clr Light said the election results showed that the Conservatives, who have been in power since 2006, should stay in control.
He said: “We have clearly had a vote of confidence. We received the biggest share of the vote, we have the most councillors and our vote went up in all but one of the 23 wards.
“We want to carry on.”
But Clr Light added that he wanted to work with other parties.
He said: “We will take the same approach as before. We welcome working with other groups on areas of common ground.”
Labour leader Clr Mehboob Khan said a coalition administration may be an option.
He said: “There won’t be another election for two years and in the meantime we need to work to local people’s priorities.
“We have an opportunity to deliver on the manifesto pledges made to the electorate. There are lots of similarities between the parties, so it makes sense to use all the talent across the council.”
Following last year’s elections Clr Khan had said that Labour, as the largest party, should run the council. But the Lib Dems voted for the Conservatives to stay in power, leaving Labour out in the cold.
Clr Khan said: “There was a protocol which said that the largest party should form the administration, but that was broken last year so that no longer stands.”
Lib Dem leader Clr Kath Pinnock will talk to the other two parties about the shape of the next Cabinet.
She said: “Our aim is to have constructive talks with Labour and the Conservatives to work out how we can best serve the people of Kirklees.
“In the past two years we have worked with the Conservatives and it has been a useful partnership which we’ve got a lot out of.
“In the very balanced position of the council at the moment whoever runs Kirklees should do so with the understanding that they can’t do it alone.”