Opposition parties put the ruling Labour Party on the back foot in some of the earliest ward results to be announced at the Wigan election count.
Controversial independent Coun Bob Brierley – who has been a constant thorn in the side for Labour – was re-elected in Hindley Green, holding off Labour candidate Eileen Rigby.
Coun Brierley paid tribute to his grandfather who he described as a staunch Labour supporter.
He said: “It’s been hard day today, very hard actually. There was no need for nastiness, but we had it. I would like to dedicate this to my grandad, staunch Labour man who bred in me always work hard for the people and respect them and that’s why I’ve been elected today because I work hard for the people of Hindley Green.”
Meanwhile, in the first result to be announced, Wigan Independent Network (WIN) candidate Steve Jones held the seat vacated by deputy opposition leader Don Hodgkinson.
Coun Jones said: “I honestly didn’t think I was going to win. To win as an independent and beat the three main political parties in the country feels brilliant.
I really need to help everyone who helped me but especially Don Hodgkinson who has stood down for this election.
“If it wasn’t for Don, (former leader of the opposition) Gary Wilkes and Bob Brierley, backing me I wouldn’t have won this election.
“It was very important not to let this seat slip over to Labour. For the last 14 years there has been an independent councillor in Bryn, so I did feel the pressure on me. But it was important we kept an independent voice.”
Coun Jones had failed in previous bids to reach the council chamber as a Ukip candidate but switched to being an independent.
“I went independent because whatever I did it was overshadowed by the national party, that’s nothing against Ukip, I’ve got nothing against them, but I wanted to be judged on the campaigns in Bryn and what I do in this ward. And it’s obviously showed on the ballot paper today.”
WIN were dealt a blow, though, as Hindley’s Jim Ellis was ousted by Labour’s Paul Blay.