Elections 2016: Labour dominate in Wigan but don’t have it all their own way

Labour celebrate
Labour celebrate

Wigan’s ruling Labour Party dominated another election night but did not have everything go to plan.

Labour won 19 out of the 25 seats available, increasing their number in the chamber by one to 65.

But it was the borough Conservatives who were celebrating as former mayor Michael Winstanley returned to the chamber with a win in Orrell.

Meanwhile, Ray Whittingham ousted Gareth Fairhurst in Standish in one of the most hotly anticipated results of the night and opposition leader James Grundy retained his Lowton East seat.

It means the Conservatives will have five councillors in the chamber.

Deputy Labour leader Coun David Molyneux, who retained his seat in Ince, told the Evening Post: “It’s not been a bad night, I think we’re happy.

“I think the people have chosen good Labour candidates as their representatives, we have won some but we’ve lost some as well but all in all we’ve had a good night.

“People have shown that they’re firmly behind what we’re doing as a council (with the Wigan Deal) and what we’ve achieved, what we’ll continue to do is try to protect services.

“We face another £60m worth of cuts in the next few years so it is difficult for us but people are on-board, they’re supportive and we’ll continue to deliver.”

Newcomer Steve Jones and Jamie Hodgkinson - who retained his Atherton seat - will represent the Wigan Independent Network with the Standish Independents falling to two members with their leader Gareth Fairhurst toppled.

The Standish Independent left the building before the result was announced after being given an indication that he had lost to Conservative Mr Whittingham.

It had been a bitterly fought battle in the ward and the new councillor said he was “delighted” to join the chamber.

He said: “It has been hard fought but I think we have fought a fair fight.

“We haven’t told lies, we’ve been positive and it’s shown through. It’s absolutely a good change.”

As he celebrated, Coun Whittingham held up a poster displaying a silhouette in reference to Mr Fairhurst refusing to allow the council to use his image on its website.

The new councillor told supporters it was the beginning of the end for the Standish Independents.

Mr Whittingham added: “He left the building. That’s why I brought this picture.

“I think this is the start of the demise for them, the beginning of the end.

“I don’t think they’ll work with me.

“I love Standish and I do a lot around Standish, both my son Neil and myself.

“We’ve asked on many occasions to contribute to Standish Community Centre, Standish Community Forum, Standish in Bloom, the British Legion and they just refuse to help.

“They don’t even recognise Standish Voice.

“I’ve been working hard for quite a few years with no money. Now with Brighter Borough money we will do a lot more.”

Labour newcomer Nazia Rehman won the seat Tyldesley seat vacated by Robert Bleakley and counterpart Paul Blay ousted Jim Ellis in Hindley.