Heckmondwike councillor David Sheard has been elected as leader of Kirklees Labour group.
Coun Sheard, who was deputy to leader Coun Mehboob Khan, took over following his election at Labour’s group meeting last night.
Coun Khan resigned as leader of the council and group last month to pursue a career as political advisor at the Local Government Association in London.
Coun Sheard becomes leader of the council by default after the budget meeting but will face a full council vote next month.
Other groups would have to form a coalition in order to have a leader from another party, as Labour holds most of the seats.
Coun Sheard said: “It’s not something I looked towards. It’s not the best time to be the leader of any council, and it’s a hell of a task in front of us, but I’m willing to have a go at it.
“My main priorities are trying to make the council fit for purpose, given the massive changes we are going to have to make, and getting more members involved so they have all got a part in what we’re doing.
“The main project is the budget over the next three years.”