Leeds & West Yorkshire

Labour battles for control in West Yorkshire elections

George Galloway
Image caption George Galloway described his victory as the "Bradford Spring"

The spotlight will fall on Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees on 3 May as the only city or large metropolitan councils in Yorkshire where Labour does not currently have an outright majority.

In Bradford, Labour's 44 councillors left the party one short of a majority after the 2011 elections.

It is in power because of the support of the three Greens on the council.

Labour hopes of cementing full control by retaining all the seats it is defending this year and taking a few more from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are threatened by the emergence of George Galloway's Respect Party.

Respect is fielding just 12 candidates for the 30 seats being contested from the 90-strong council but it only needs to win a handful and it could find itself replacing the Greens as the holder of the balance of power in the city.

Six of the seats being contested by Respect are currently held by Labour including that of the leader Ian Greenwood in his Little Horton ward.

Main focus

Respect's claims that George Galloway's astonishing victory in the Bradford West by-election would send shock waves through neighbouring West Yorkshire councils have come to nothing.

Respect will not be fielding a single candidate outside Bradford.

That means that the fortunes of the Liberal Democrats will be the main focus of attention in Huddersfield-based Kirklees Council and at the Halifax headquarters of the Calderdale local authority.

Image caption Labour has a clean sweep of control in Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley councils

In both council chambers no party holds an overall majority but the Liberal Democrats locally are ignoring national party leader Nick Clegg and supporting Labour to keep out the Conservatives.

In Calderdale, the Conservatives are the largest party but are outvoted by a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition which jointly runs the council.

Labour has the most councillors in Kirklees but can only muster a majority and keep control with the help of the Liberal Democrats.

Both these alliances could be severely squeezed if the Liberal Democrat collapse at the ballot box since the 2010 General Election continues.

In the other West Yorkshire councils of Leeds and Wakefield, Labour is in the driving seat and is expected to increase its majorities.

In South Yorkshire few expect any upset.

Labour has a clean sweep of control in Barnsley, Rotherham and Sheffield councils.

Neighbouring Doncaster is run by Yorkshire's only executive mayor, who is not up for re-election this year.

Labour overwhelmingly dominates Doncaster's council chamber where a third of the seats are being contested.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites