Kirklees Council leader leaves Labour Party as other councillors resign

Leader of Kirklees Council, Cllr Cathy Scott.
-Credit: (Image: Northern Exposure/Kirklees Council)

Three Kirklees councillors, including the council leader, have released statements after resigning from the Labour Party.

Councillor Cathy Scott, who worked as the council leader and represented Dewsbury East released a statement following her decision to resign as a member of the Labour Party, saying she would continue on as leader of the council in her role as an independent. Meanwhile Councillors Habiban Zaman and Adam Zaman released a joint statement explaining why they were resigning from the party.

According to Councillor Scott, she believes "diverse voices" in Kirklees need to be heard without the "constraints imposed by a single party affiliation". She said it was "increasingly difficult" to represent her constituents "authentically" while a member of the Labour Party.

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She said: "Under the Labour Party, I found it increasingly difficult to represent our residents authentically, as the party was moving further away from my values. Additionally, I have deep-seated concerns regarding the direction and internal dynamics of the party."

Councillor Habiban Zaman
Councillor Habiban Zaman -Credit:Kirklees Council

However, Coun Scott will be remaining leader of the council, and added: "I was elected to serve in this role until 2026, and any changes will adhere to our constitution."

In addition, Coun Scott addressed the situation within the council, adding that while no party holds a majority in Kirklees, the area "cannot afford a period of uncertainty, poor behaviour and tribal bickering". She also addressed the financial situation, adding: "Under my leadership, the Council has achieved a balanced budget, but further actions will be necessary, and some decisions may need to be revised as circumstances change."

Some changes have already been announced, with Coun Scott announcing the termination of existing cabinet members. Councillor Habiban Zaman was also appointed Cabinet Member for Children, with statutory responsibility for children.

Coun Scott said: "I invite all councillors, regardless of party affiliation, to discuss how they can contribute to these positions and this new way of working. These discussions should take place within the next seven days to ensure the full cabinet is operational swiftly."

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She added that she believed the current party system is beyond reform and said she was "prepared to lead a fresh start" and to work in a "non-partisan manner". She concluded by saying: "We face unprecedented times, and by uniting as one council, we can harness our collective strength to overcome the challenges ahead. Together, we can create a future where every individual, every family, and every community thrives."

Councillor Adam Zaman
Councillor Adam Zaman -Credit:Kirklees Council

Meanwhile, Councillors Habiban Zaman and Adam Zaman, both representing the Batley East ward, also said they were announcing their resignation from the party with a "heavy heart". They said: "It has become increasingly clear the national party has failed to provide the necessary support to local representatives and members. This lack of support has significantly hampered our efforts to effectively represent our communities and uphold the values we stand for.

"Moreover, the party’s communication strategy and stance, particularly in relation to the heartbreaking events in the Middle East, has been deeply concerning. Unfortunately, the poor handling and lack of coherent communication have led to confusion and disillusionment amongst our supporters and constituents.

"We have always believed in the core principles of the Labour Party: social justice, equality, and solidarity. However, the current trajectory and internal challenges within the party have made it impossible for us to continue as members in good conscience. It is our hope that this decision will underscore the urgent need for introspection and reform within the party.

"We remain committed to serving our constituents as independent councillors. Thank you to our supporters and colleagues for their understanding and continued support."