In the midst of a dire financial crisis cause in part by the local Labour council, the resignation of Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor has left the council’s administration in turmoil. His resignation follows criticism over his handling of a convicted fellow Labour Councillor.
Clr Pandor, the council’s leader since 2018, made a shock resignation statement late on Wednesday night, while the council struggles to deal with a £46 million budgetary hole that is leading to the redundancies of 750 staff.
Clr Pandor’s resignation was announced just one week after the council as a whole questioned his judgement, with Councillors accusing him of having “wilfully misled” the council on the suspension of Fazila Loonat, a Labour councillor from Batley East who was recently sentenced to prison for falsifying records related to a speeding ticket.
Last week, Tory leader Clr David Hall demanded information concerning her suspension and those involved, asserting that Clr Pandor should have removed Clr Loonat from office as soon as he learned of the allegations.
In a statement, Pandor said: “I will be resigning from my position of Leader of Kirklees Labour Group and Leader of Kirklees Council with immediate effect.
“I would like to thank the Labour Party, Kirklees Council, Labour Group and everyone who has supported and assisted me in my time as Leader and Deputy Leader.
“Leading Kirklees Council has been an honour and a privilege and I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve.
“I’m incredibly proud of our achievements during my time as Leader.
“We have a very strong foundation and footing to continue to deliver services whilst we have solid ambitions for our towns and villages across Kirklees.
“I feel it’s time for me to stand aside to allow a renewed sense of direction, vision and aspiration for the people across Kirklees.
“I’m looking forward to supporting the new leadership and continuing my work in representing the brilliant residents of Batley West.”