Strong showing for Labour in Wigan local elections
The borough bucked the national trend on what was otherwise a fairly difficult day for Labour.
Unusually there were no changes at all as every seat remained in the hands of the party it had started out with.
Anticipated challenges to Labour largely failed to materialise in the borough even as the party lost seats and votes elsewhere in the country.
In fact the red rosette nearly pulled off a major shock, pushing well-known independent Bob Brierley to the wire in Hindley Green.
In total 26 seats in the chamber were up for grabs, with two councillors being elected in Orrell.
Labour won 19 of them, with the Conservatives taking four, two going to independents and the Independent Network defending one.
A number of prominent Labour politicians, including Wigan Council leader David Molyneux, deputy leader Keith Cunliffe and cabinet members Nazia Rehman, Paula Wakefield and Terence Halliwell were all returned to the chamber for another stint.
The party’s closest shave in the seats it was holding came in Leigh South, where Kevin Anderson got over the finishing line with 1,695 votes compared to 1,423 for his Conservative challenger Joshua Yates.
And Labour very nearly grabbed the Hindley Green seat of long-serving independent Bob Brierley, whose continued place in the chamber was eventually secured by just eight votes following a nail-biting recount.
It meant heartbreak for businessman James Palmer, who secured 1,058 votes to his opponent’s 1,066.
The Conservatives did not make any further breakthroughs and had to be content with defending the seats they held going into the vote.
Group leader Michael Winstanley will be joined in Orrell ward by Marjorie Clayton,the widow of Richard Clayton who formerly held the seat for the Conservatives until his death last year.
Marie Cooper won the Lowton East seat which was previously held by Leigh MP James Grundy for the blue rosette and Ray Whittingham was re-elected in Standish with Langtree.
Jamie Hodgkinson saw off the challenge of former Bolton West MP Julie Hilling in Atherton for the Independent Network’s sole success of the day, while independent Steve Jones secured a huge victory in Bryn.
Elsewhere in the borough it was a succession of Labour victories, with portfolio holder Keith Cunliffe seeing off the challenge of prominent businessman Trevor Barton in Leigh East and
Laura Flynn being elected in Aspull New Springs Whelley in a contest which included former Big Brother contestant Luke Marsden as the Conservative candidate.
Former Wigan Post photographer Dave Hurst is also joining the chamber after emerging victorious in Worsley Mesnes.
Patricia Draper, the council’s Waspi champion, also enjoyed a straightforward path back into the chamber in Douglas ward.
Speaking after the final results were announced Coun Paul Kenny, chair of the Makerfield Labour Party, said: "Today we have seen good support for Labour across the borough as we held all seats and came close to gaining a seat in Hindley Green.
"We have a fantastic set of councillors and strong leadership and people have recognised the work of Labour teams across the borough during the pandemic."
Coun Winstanley said the Conservatives were extremely pleased with the party's performance, pointing to increased shares of the vote across the borough.
He said defending the party's existing seats had been the aim and picking any up would have been a bonus.
Turnout was overall fairly low, with the highest showing at the ballot box being the 38.6 per cent figure recorded in Lowton East.
It was a long day for the election workers at the Covid-secure facilities as the Greater Manchester mayoral election votes had to be verified first.
That meant counting for the local wards did not get under way until after 4pm.
Wards in Wigan and Makerfield were counted at the Robin Park Tennis Centre while The Edge provided the venue for the Leigh results.
Workers carried out the jobs of verifying and counting behind clear plastic screens while face coverings were also clearly in evidence.
Here are the full results:
Abram: David Bowker (Ind) 425, Beverley Bridgewater (Cons) 628, Daniel Simm (LD) 77, Martyn Smethurst (Lab) 1411.
Ashton: Danny Fletcher (Lab) 1752, Geoffrey Matthews (LD) 125, Edward Sturdy (Cons) 816.
Aspull New Springs Whelley: Laura Flynn (Lab) 1736, Andrew Holland (LD) 112, John Hulme (Ind) 719, Luke Marsden (Cons) 853.
Astley Mosley Common: David Stirzaker (Cons) 1476, Paula Wakefield (Lab) 1978.
Atherleigh: Paul Fairhurst (Cons) 610, Lorraine Gillon (LD) 63, John Harding (Lab) 1073, Natasha Hodgkinson (IN) 587, Zoe Irlam (LATT) 112.
Atherton: Julie Hilling (Lab) 998, Jamie Hodgkinson (IN) 1669, Emily Siddall (Cons) 412, Quinton Smith (LATT) 213.
Bryn: Judith Atherton (Cons) 252, Mary Callaghan (Lab) 703, Steve Jones (Ind) 2047, Denise Melling (LD) 51.
Douglas: Margaret Atherton (Cons) 495 , Patricia Draper (Lab) 1535, Donald Macnamara (LD) 159.
Golborne and Lowton West: Stanley Crook (Cons) 925, Yvonne Klieve (Lab) 1619, Susan Spibey (Ind) 276, Brian Witt (LD) 62.
Hindley: Alan Baines (Ind) 305, Paul Blay (Lab) 1497, Hilda Byrne (IN) 292, John Skipworth (LD) 91, Mark Temperton (Cons) 422.
Hindley Green: Bob Brierley (Ind) 1066, Paul Chapman (Cons) 455, James Palmer (Lab) 1058, Graham Suddick (LD) 37.
Ince: Allan Atherton (Cons) 369, Jordan Gaskell (Ukip) 242, David Molyneux (Lab) 1298.
Leigh East: Trevor Barton (Ind) 473, Keith Cunliffe (Lab) 1353, James Geddes (Cons) 584, James Morley (LATT) 249, Lewis Parkin (LD) 69.
Leigh South: Kevin Anderson (Lab) 1695, Simon Brooks (LD) 131, Dave Fraser (LATT) 213, Joshua Yates (Cons) 1423.
Leigh West: Sue Greensmith (Lab) 1582, Sharron-Lee Honey (LD) 104, Gerard Houlton (Cons) 714, Jayson Lomax-Hargreaves (LATT) 394.
Lowton East: Marie Cooper (Cons) 2395, Garry Lloyd (Lab) 1516, Christopher Noon (LD) 123.
Orrell: Marjorie Clayton (Cons) 1540, Joseph Saunders (Lab) 1140, Neil Stevenson (LD) 225, Mark Tebbutt (Lab) 1285, Stuart Thomas (LD) 110, Michael Winstanley (Cons) 1456.
Pemberton: David Burley (LD) 180, Jean Peet (Cons) 477, Jeanette Prescott (Lab) 1476.
Shevington with Lower Ground: Brian Crombie-Fisher (LD) 220, Michael Crosby (Lab) 1432, Gareth Fairhurst (ShInd) 739, Gary Robinson (Cons) 798.
Standish with Langtree: Debbie Fairhurst (StInd) 644, Caroline Waddicor (LD ) 96, Raymond Whittingham (Cons) 1997, Dave Wood (Lab) 911.
Tyldesley: Susan Atherton (Cons) 771, Jack Davies (LD) 213, James Fish (Ref) 121, Julian Marsh (LATT) 429, Antonino Panebianco (Ind) 105, Nazia Rehman (Lab) 1559.
Wigan Central: Lawrence Hunt (Lab) 2016, Benjamin Thomas (LD) 243, Joe Worthington (Cons) 938.
Wigan West: Ian Dyer (LD) 295, Terence Halliwell (Lab) 1664, Marie Winstanley (Cons) 592.
Winstanley: Paul Kenny (Lab) 1614, Michael Owens (Cons) 801, Robert Stevenson (LD) 365.
Worsley Mesnes: Danny Cooke (Ind) 242, David Hurst (Lab) 1549, John Parrott (LD) 61, Cyril Pendlebury (Cons) 565.
Key to abbreviations: Lab - Labour, Cons - Conservatives, LD - Liberal Democrats, Ind - Independent, IN - Independent Network, LATT - Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley Together, ShInd - Shevington Independents, StInd - Standish Independents, Ukip - Ukip, Ref - Reform UK.
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