UKiP has announced it is to stand in every one of the 25 seats up for grabs in Wigan’s forthcoming local elections.
The party will be joined by the Tories who are also pledging to stand in all the wards.
A third of all the seats in the town hall - which all but one are currently held by Labour - are to be contested on polling day, Thursday May 22,
The ruling party remains quietly confident it can cash in on the Coalition’s unpopularity to secure all 25 seats, including the one held by the one remaining Lib Dem Coun Paul Valentine, in Tyldesley.
But it will face a spirited attack on at least two fronts.
The official opposition Wigan Independent Network (WIN) group said it is launching a rejuvenated campaign to cement its role as official opposition on the council.
While UKIP said it will match its national surge with a promise to stand in every single borough seat available this time. Wigan UKIP organiser Alan Freeman said: “We have a duty to let the people of Wigan speak and to give them a voice.
“So we are committed to stand in every single seat across Wigan borough in the elections.
“It is another sign of how serious UKIP is as a political force in this area and regionally.”
Households can already expect letter boxes to be weighed down with an even greater stuffing of leaflets because this year’s town hall hustings are combined with the Euro Parliament poll.
The firing gun is officially fired to start the process with the Publication of the Notice of Election on Monday April 14.
Parties must deliver their nomination papers no later than April 24 with the council set to publish the official list of candidates by 4pm the following day.
Deadline for receipt of applications for electoral registration is Tuesday May 6, while the last day for the receipt of NEW postal vote applications (or changes to existing postal or proxy records) is May 7.
The official opposition WIN claims it is expecting to double its number of councillors in the election to 10 and form the first-ever credible opposition party to oppose the Labour on the council.
Deputy Leader Coun Norman Bradbury said: “WIN is the only credible alternative to Labour and in a few years could be the majority group on the Council.
But Makerfield Constituency Labour Party Secretary Coun Paul Kenny said the polls provide the opportunity for voters to “send PM David Cameron a message.”
Coun Kenny said: “The Tories have cut the council’s budget by £330 per person compared to just £54 per person in Cameron’s backyard of West Oxfordshire.
“The Tories proclaim that ‘we are all in this together’ yet it is clear that northern towns like Wigan are facing the deepest cuts. Real wages are down and the cost of living goes up and times are difficult for many families and pensioners across the Borough.”
Greater Manchester Conservative Federation chairman Coun Michael Winstanley confirmed it will field candidates in every ward.
Former Mayor, Michael Winstanley, said: “We will be campaigning on local issues that matter to local people such as keeping the cost of Council Tax down, which for three out of the last four years has been frozen thanks to the Conservative Government.
“We will also be campaigning on improving the condition of local roads which are in a dreadful condition and also ensuring that the council cuts down on waste.
“Only the Conservative party can challenge the Labour Party across the borough and are a coherent voice with a credible alternative.
“If people want councillors who will represent the community and not simply follow what the Labour whip says then they should vote conservative and we can have a strong voice speaking up for people in the borough.”