Labour won the battle to take charge of Bradford Council yesterday after the Liberal Democrats abstained during the leadership vote at the authority’s annual meeting.

It means that, after ten years of Conservative rule, the leadership has returned to Labour and group leader Councillor Ian Greenwood takes back the helm he lost in 2000.

At City Hall Labour’s 39 councillors were able to outvote their Conservative rivals as the 14-strong Lib Dem group gave neither side their backing. This left the 32 Conservative councillors unable to mount a challenge.

After the meeting Councillor Greenwood told the Telegraph & Argus: “It’s an extremely humbling experience to be selected to lead the community which I was brought up in. I believe we can move this district forward with the co-operation of the vast majority of its citizens.

“We are not in control of the Council, we are in leadership of it, and therefore is incumbent on us to listen to all of the groups on the Council. Having said that we will look to ensure that our policies, programmes and manifesto are implemented to the best of our abilities.

“Our first priority is education – unless we provide a first class education for our children this community will not move forward as it should. We will always look to protect the vulnerable who require and use our frontline services. We clearly have to do something about the city centre, and the great big hole which looks like becoming semi-permanent. And there is a massive housing agenda which we feel has to be addressed.

“We intend to listen to what people have to say – wide ranging groups and individuals across the district – so that whatever policies we put forward have been forged in general public support.

“Clearly there are some difficult decisions to make – we have the legacy of past failure within the Council and the results of an international recession.

“We don’t believe the Government should be imposing arbitrary or unreasonable reductions but nevertheless we have to take our share of the reductions and in those circumstance we would look to ensure that frontline services are protected.”

When Coun Greenwood was nominated as leader, Labour councillors voted for him, the Conservatives and BNP against, while the Lib Dems and Green councillors abstained.