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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Batley gears up for second elections in less than a year

Thirteen candidates are standing in two wards in the town.

Nine months after the febrile atmosphere of the Batley and Spen by-election voters are gearing up for the local elections on 5 May.

Batley’s two wards are heavily Labour dominated boasting large majorities in recent years and significant percentages of votes going to Labour candidates.

But there have been threats. In 2014 an independent candidate came second in Batley East, chasing veteran Labour councillor Mahmood Akhtar, who this year has stood down.

Thirteen candidates are standing in two wards in the town

And the Workers Party of Great Britain, led by George Galloway, was prominent during last year’s by-election campaign with Mr Galloway openly admitting that his aim was for Labour under Sir Keir Starmer to lose.

The former Labour and Respect MP eventually only managed third place behind Labour and the Conservatives. The Workers Party is fielding two candidates in the 2022 local elections.

Nine candidates in total are contesting the Batley East and Batley West wards this year. The Local Democracy Reporting Service invited them to outline their pledges and aspirations should they be successful.

BATLEY EAST

Aziz Daji (Workers Party of Great Britain)

I promise residents that I shall be their voice in the council and will represent their views, which has been lacking from current Labour councillors. I will work tirelessly to make the council and its officers accountable. I will fight for a fair share of the budget for the people of Batley.

Simon Duffy (Green)

In their last budget amendment Green councillors proposed installing solar panels on all Kirklees schools to reduce energy costs and provide an example to children of how we can reduce carbon emissions sustainably. Greens will always push for clean energy to reduce schools’ costs and help pay for more teaching staff.

Keiron Gavaghan (Conservative)

No information was received.

David Shepherd (Lib Dems)

Residents need someone who is going to listen to what is needed locally. If a council is going to provide good local services the councillor needs to be someone who will hear what people have to say. There is a real feeling that the Conservatives take us for granted and the Labour administration don’t listen.

Adam Zaman (Labour)

Working hard to secure extra funding for our highways, to get extra Levelling Up funding from government, to build a range of diverse housing to provide high-quality affordable homes, refurbishing and upgrading local play areas, and to see more resources allocated in young people’s activities across the ward.

BATLEY WEST

Mohammed Laher (Conservative)

For more than 35 years I have been involved in community work and I believe the experience I have gained makes me a capable and active candidate for Batley West. I will put Batley first as I care about my home town and its people.

Stephen Long (Lib Dems)

I’m standing in Batley West because people deserve a different choice from the usual two big parties. We need to get on top of issues like speeding on our roads, air quality and the cost of living crisis. People are worried, quite rightly, that Labour are being slow to react on some of these big issues.

Gwen Lowe (Labour)

There’s so much more I want to do. To continue being a loud and consistent voice for all residents and groups. Community safety is a priority. I’ll speak out about environmental issues, sourcing more funding for our parks and roads. I’ll continue supporting and working with our amazing volunteers.

Jack Senior (Green)

As households face soaring energy bills the Green Party will petition for emergency grants to fund insulation improvements for homeowners and businesses at risk of fuel poverty. Locally, we will work to reduce road congestion, dangerous driving and noise pollution as well as protecting our shared green spaces.

Kirklees Council is currently in no overall control with Labour (33 seats), Conservatives (19 seats), Liberal Democrats (nine seats), Greens (three seats), Holme Valley North Independents (three seats) and other Independents (two seats).

Of the seats up for election this year, Labour hold 11, Conservatives six, Lib Dems four, Holme Valley North Independents one and Greens one.

The election count will take place at Cathedral House in Huddersfield from 8.45am on Friday, 6 May.

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