“I WANT to carry on.”
That’s the message from Kirklees Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan after his Labour group emerged stronger from this year’s elections.
The party now holds 27 of the 69 seats on Kirklees, after making three gains yesterday.
Clr Khan believes his party should go on running a minority administration on the hung council.
“As the largest party, we should run the administration, but with input from other political groups,” he said.
“The public expect us to settle our differences to work together in their best interests. I will be in contact with the leaders of the other groups to look for areas of common concern.”
Councillors elected Clr Khan to a four-year term as leader last May.
However, the Labour man volunteered at the time to put himself up for re-election every 12 months.
Clr Khan said yesterday that he would go ahead with the promise at this year’s annual council meeting on May 25.
“I have a four-year term but I will ask the council for their endorsement at this month’s meeting,” he said.
The Greenhead man said anger at public spending cuts had helped his party in this year’s election.
“I put our success down to grassroots campaigning on key issues,” he said.
“But the national picture has had a significant impact on the outcome.
“There are good local champions like Roger Battye and Bob Iredale who I greatly admire who have lost their seats.”
Clr Kath Pinnock admitted “the dynamics have changed” after her Lib Dem group slumped from 20 seats to 14.
The Cleckheaton woman said: “I’m very, very disappointed that we’ve lost some excellent Lib Dem councillors.
“We will have to get together as a group to decide the best way to promote Lib Dem values but the dynamics of the council have changed with these results.”
Clr Pinnock added that former Labour supporters had drifted back to the party since last year’s general election.
She said: “Labour voters who abandoned the party when it was in government have returned to Labour.
“But we’ve bounced back before and we’ll bounce back again.”
Kirklees Conservative leader Clr Robert Light called for a change at the top of the council following yesterday’s results.
“There’s a clear need for a change of administration, that’s the message from today’s result,” he said.
Clr Light added that his party had benefited from public anger at the council’s Local Development Framework (LDF), which would see 28,000 new homes by 2028.
He added: “I expect the Lib Dems will continue to support their bed-fellows in Labour. The two parties have been jointly behind the very controversial LDF.”