Council leader elect Shabir Pandor vowed to fight on after being sensationally snubbed in a council chamber vote.

Labour chief Clr Pandor was expected to be voted into the top job at Kirklees Council but his own actions in ousting previous leader David Sheard came back to bite him.

Clr Pandor staged a coup to remove Clr Sheard at Labour’s annual meeting.

And when it came to a vote for the new council leader, Clr Sheard and three other Labour councillors – Graham Turner, Cathy Scott and Judith Hughes – all sent their apologies claiming they were ill.

That meant Labour could be out-voted by rival parties, leaving Clr Pandor angry and embarrassed.

Clr David Hall
Clr David Hall

Tory, Liberal Democrat and Green opposition leaders turned on him, saying Clr Pandor couldn’t be trusted with the council leadership.

New Tory leader Clr David Hall pulled no punches and said: “This council needs a leader who possesses wisdom above cleverness. It needs a skilled negotiator not a wheeler dealer.

“If we elect an ill-suited person to this job we demean the office itself.”

Clr Pandor (Batley West) said he had not given up on the top job and still had the support of his party.

Speaking a few hours after the humiliating council vote, he said he would not let other parties “undermine” him or the Labour party.

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He said: “They have to come to terms with the fact that I’m a strong leader and I’m going to lead the council.

“It was completely out of order and pathetic what they did. There was only one nomination. They can’t dictate democracy.

“What’s happened has made me a lot stronger. If they have a plan then let’s hear it. If they don’t then shut up and let me run the council."

“They had the audacity to make big speeches but they didn’t have a plan in place. They’ve been listening to gossip and slander and they’ve behaved completely unprofessionally.

“My group are very strong and are fully behind me. To be honest it’s a kick in the teeth for the local electorate, it’s a sad day for Kirklees.

“They’re just bad mouthing me and being very rude but at the same time no one has put any other name forward (to be leader).

“It’s their right to vote me down but what have they put in my place? Nothing. They’re just playing party politics.”

Angry tweets from Clr David Sheard following him losing his job as leader of Kirklees Council

Reacting to the claims he had made false promises of deals with other groups to his own party, he said: “I haven’t made any promises, I’ve been very honest and open with everyone.

“If they feel that’s not the way to do business then they need to tell me what they want to do. I’ve got no axe to grind.”

Clr Pandor said he was disappointed with the four Labour councillors who were absent from the vote. He would have needed three of the four to support him to be elected as council leader.

Clr Pandor said he would be seeking legal advice and soundings from the regional party on the no-shows by the four councillors.

Council chief executive Adrian Lythgo became temporary leader, only the third time in the authority’s history that its chief officer has taken both roles.