Opposition parties form alliance

Couns Ed Houlton, Kath Houlton and James Grundy on election night
Couns Ed Houlton, Kath Houlton and James Grundy on election night
  • Conservatives and WIN to join
  • New opposition group will have six members
  • Coun James Grundy to be official leader of the opposition

TWO opposition groups are to form a “loose coalition” on Wigan Council to take on the ruling Labour Party.

The Conservatives, who gained an extra council seat at the local elections, have agreed terms with the Wigan Independent Network (WIN).

This decision makes sense for both parties

Coun James Grundy

WIN lost its leader and deputy leader last week as Gary Wilkes and Norman Bradbury were toppled by Labour’s Nathan Murray and Martin Aldred, respectively.

But their three remaining councillors; Don Hodgkinson, Jamie Hodgkinson and Jim Ellis, will join forces with Lowton East’s three Tories; James Grundy, Ed Houlton and Kath Houlton, who ousted Labour’s Pam Gilligan on Friday.

Coun Grundy will be the Tory/WIN group’s leader and will therefore take up the position of official leader of the opposition vacated by Gary Wilkes.

Coun Don Hodgkinson, who represents Bryn, will be the group’s deputy.

Coun Grundy said he had made the offer before the local elections and his members would adopt “a different approach to opposition.”

Adding: “We have been working together with WIN members for a while on local issues which are not political. If a pothole needs sorting, residents don’t care about political allegiances.

“We would have had the moral right to form the official opposition by ourselves because we were the party that gained the most votes.

“But this decision makes sense for both groups and we will be able to voice our concerns about how the council is being run effectively.”

The ruling Labour Party increased its number of council seats to 64 out of 75 at the local elections, leaving the three Conservatives, three WIN members, three Standish Independents and two independents as the remaining members.