By Daniel Wood – KLTV Contributor
Labour councillors Rob Walker and Lesley Warner, who both represent Colne Valley, and Richard Murgatroyd, who represents Golcar, have all resigned from their party, citing ‘national issues’.
This means they can no longer sit as Labour members, and consequently, the Labour administration no longer has a majority on the council.
The 2016 electee, Cllr Walker, currently holds the Cabinet portfolio on culture and environment.
Arrangements are being made for the review of the decision-making cabinet by Council Leader Shabir Pandor.
He stated that he would update on the situation “as soon as practically possible.”
Before the resignations, Labour held the majority in the council by one member.
They are now one councillor behind the Conservatives. That is even after Conservatives’ Charlotte Goodwin also stepped down last week.
Labour must now attempt to make a deal with smaller parties on the council such as the three-member Independent group in Holme Valley North or the Greens, in order to prop up its administration.
Alternatively, they might opt for a ‘grand coalition’ of parties to see the council through the rest of the year.
The latter option has doubt over its possibility by Council insiders.
Cllr Walker, who is married to the former Colne Valley Labour MP Thelma Walker, said his resignation was “completely to do with national issues.”
He added: “It’s nothing to do with the local issues or disagreements within the Labour group or Cabinet. I would prefer not to say anything more at the moment.”
Cllr Walker said he would be an Independent until the next local election in May 2021.
While responding to the resignations Cllr Pandor described the three councillors as “outstanding” and said they remained part of the Labour family in Kirklees.
He said: “I have really appreciated Rob, Lesley and Richard as colleagues in the Labour Group and would want to continue working with them for the benefit of Kirklees.
“I have worked with them all for many years and know that they are passionate about the communities they serve and are committed to improving the lives of people in their wards and across Kirklees.
“Together, as councillors and as a community, we will continue to fight the pandemic and build a recovery that works for everyone in Kirklees.”