Freedom award nomination for Council Leader

Lord Smith
Lord Smith

WIGAN council leader Lord Peter Smith is one step nearer being given the freedom of the borough.

Lord Smith, who has been leader of Wigan council since 1991, will pick up the prestigious award if two thirds of councillors back the move at a special ceremony – expected to be a formality.

Councillors approved the convening of the meeting in a vote this week but have yet to set a date.

An Honorary Freemanship is the highest honour that can be given to a citizen of the borough of Wigan.

It has been awarded on 15 occasions, with previous recipients including Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan, Waterfield’s bakery founder Albert Waterfield and the Royal Mercian and Lancastrian Yeomanry Territorial Army reserve.

The 66-year-old Lord Smith, pictured, who was created Baron Smith of Leigh, Wigan, in 1999, led Labour to a landslide local election victory in May with an increased majority.

He has recently been undergoing treatment for cancer.

David Molyneux, deputy leader of the council who nominated Lord Smith, said: “The title of Honorary Freeman is the highest honour a council can bestow and I am proud to recommend my friend and colleague Peter Smith.

“Peter has a record of dedication to local government and to the people of our borough that is unsurpassed. His work to promote our communities and businesses has made a major and positive difference to the lives of people here and the image of our area around the UK and beyond.”