Council leadership

Lib-Democrat Janet Battye and the Labour group’s Tim Swift are going head-to-head in a battle for the leadership of Calderdale Council – and we want you to choose between them.

Following last week’s election, the Liberal Democrat and Labour groups have 13 seats each – just enough to jointly control the 52-seat council for another year.

But rather than allowing the people of Calderdale to pick a leader, the matter is set to be decided by a behind-the-scenes deal.

The council may not be asking your opinion on who should lead – but today the Courier is. We want you to email us with your choice for the council leadership – and we will pass on your views to councillors. E-mail us at

At meetings this week, Janet Battye was re-appointed leader of the Lib-Dems and Tim Swift was reappointed leader of the Labour group.

Which of them will become council leader and deputy will ultimately be decided at the annual council meeting on May 23 but behind the scenes talks are underway.

The Liberals can expect to receive the backing of Coun Robert Pearson who recently quit the group over what he described as “personal differences” with some colleagues and now sits as an Independent Liberal Democrat.

He actively campaigned for the party during the election but not in Warley ward, which he has represented for the past three years.

The Labour group picked up three seats at the election – Todmorden, Calder and Sowerby Bridge – and until now have been the junior partner in the council’s Lib-Lab coalition.

As well as deciding who gets the top job, councillors might also consider reducing the size of the cabinet from seven to six members, giving the coalition partners equal responsibility and cutting costs.