Franzen out

Controversial Wigan councillor Peter Franzen was sensationally ousted after an unprecedented Labour campaign to win back his seat.

The outspoken Golborne and Lowton West councillor has been a constant thorn in the side of the Labour council since his election six years ago.

But the Community Action Party leader's reign came to an end after a recount confirmed he had lost by 76 votes to Labour's Yvonne Klieve, who joins husband Mark Klieve, a serving Golborne councillor.

The announcement of Franzen's defeat was greeted with a roar from the Labour faithful and he left Lowton Civic Hall to a slow hand clap from a band of detractors.

He said: "I wish to thank all the people who supported me during my six years as a councillor working full time for the people of Golborne and Lowton West.

"I've done my best in spite of opposition smears led by New Labour. They've now gained full control of Golborne and Lowton and the council,

and they cannot now blame anyone else for the problems in Wigan.

"It remains to be seen whether they will keep the promises they've made and I look forward to the opening of the long-promised Golborne and Lowton railway station.

"It has taken the entire Wigan Labour party machine, backed by the New Labour Government, to get rid of me.

"There were just three of us compared to 20 councillors and MPs.

"They've used a call centre in their campaign, and I wonder if those costs will be declared on their expenses?"

Mr Franzen made it clear that his failure to keep his seat would not be the end of his clashes with Labour.

He added: "I will now be concentrating my efforts on removing Lord Peter Smith as leader of the council.

"I will be launching a petition calling for an elected mayor in Wigan."


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