Cllr David Hall, leader of the Conservative councillors on Kirklees Council, today wrote an open letter to Cllr Shabir Pandor, Labour Leader of the Council, demanding answers to questions about how much Cllr Pandor knew about the criminal investigation into Cllr Loonat, Labour Councillor for Batley East.
Cllr Loonat willingly misled the police in their investigation into a traffic offence committed in July 2020, and in doing so perverted the course of justice. She was given a fourteen-week custodial sentence at Bradford Crown Court on July 6th 2023.
Cllr Hall set out four questions in the public interest:
- When was Cllr Pandor made aware of the police investigation into Cllr Loonat?
- When was Cllr Pandor made aware that Cllr Loonat had been charged with the offence?
- Was anyone in the Labour Party aware of the investigation before Cllr Loonat was nominated to stand in the May 2021 local election?
- Why did Cllr Pandor not suspend Cllr Loonat from the Labour Group when either you learnt of the investigation or were told of the charges?
Cllr Hall commented:
Kirklees residents expect and deserve the highest standards from their elected councillors. Perverting the course of justice in this manner is a very serious offence, as the gravity of the sentence bears out, and I believe Cllr Pandor should have acted when he first learnt of the criminal investigation.
Cllr Pandor should have removed the Labour whip from Cllr Loonat long before now: it is accepted practice in all political parties, in order to uphold public confidence, that elected members are suspended pending any ongoing police investigation. The fact that Cllr Loonat is still sitting as a Labour member of Kirklees Council is disgraceful and shows a serious lack of judgment on the part of Cllr Pandor.
Cllr Pandor should immediately suspend Cllr Loonat from the Labour group and come clean about what he knew when.
David Hall, Leader
John Taylor, Deputy Leader