Bryn councillor defects to Independant group

Wigan's Community Action Party (CAP) has been dealt another blow following an election nightmare.

Bryn ward councillor Bill Wilkes, a retired Wigan cabbie, announced he has defected from the former majority opposition on Wigan Metro to the now eight-strong Independent Group.

CAP is still reeling from the culling of two councillors – including leader Peter Franzen – in last week's local government elections.

Last year Ashton councillor Don Hodgkinson defected from CAP to the independents.

Coun Wilkes said he had left CAP because he was "very unhappy" with the way the party was being run.

He revealed that he had kept the decision quiet until immediately after the elections so that the news could not be used by ruling Labour to affect the re-election of his CAP friend and colleague, Coun Stan

Barnes, in Winstanley. Coun Wilkes said: "I have been considering this for some time. I didn't want to upset the apple cart by resigning from CAP on the eve of the elections, which is why I have done it now.

"I believe there are others from CAP who may now follow me.

"I believed in the Community Action Party's ideals when it was formed and I think I can still carry that out as an Independent."

His leader, Coun Brian Merry, who was thrown out of CAP himself for forming a new political party three years ago, said he had held no talks with Coun Wilkes ahead of his defection. But he "very warmly welcomed" him to his group.

He said: "We held a group meeting after the elections which welcomed our new councillors, along with Coun Wilkes, and reaffirmed myself as leader and Coun Bob Splaine my deputy."

CAP leader Peter Franzen said it was "perhaps inevitable that a few of its members had apparently used CAP as a platform for their own advancement".


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