Strong showing for Labour in Wigan local elections
The borough followed the national trend with the party seeming to be on the up which many could argue is a result of “Partygate”.
While Labour maintained a strong hold across many areas, the red rosette also managed to pull a bigger shock.
Former Conservative Mayor Michael Winstanley lost his seat by just 34 votes to Dave Wood of the Labour and Co-Operative party.
On losing his seat, Mr Winstanley said: “I’m bitterly disappointed with the result, but sadly we’re mid-term of a Conservative government.
"The high points of tonight are holding the two seats. I’ve dedicated the last five years to the people of Orrell and sadly they didn’t want me to carry on as councillor.
"I hope to come back next year. I’d like to thank those who’ve supported me and have voted for me, it’s unfortunately just one of those things.”
Coun Wood said: “I feel great to take the scalp of the Tory leader, there’s nothing to beat that, I feel elated about it. I’m so thankful to the people of Orrell who turned out to vote for me. It was a small margin but it was very important that every person who wanted to vote Labour got out and voted.”
In total 26 seats in the chamber were up for grabs, with two councillors being elected in Leigh East following the death of Coun Anita Thorpe earlier this year
Labour won 22 of them, with the Conservatives taking two, one going to the Independents and the Independent Network defending one.
A number of prominent Labour politicians, including chairman of health and social care scrutiny Ron Conway, portfolio holder for planning, environmental services and transport Paul Prescott and the lead member for leisure and public health James Moodie were all returned to the chamber for another stint.
On the plus side for the Conservatives, they managed to hold on to Standish with Langtree and Lowton East.
Coun Steve Jones is also making his return to represent Bryn at the council just eight months after being forced to step down.
In his thank you speech, the independent paid tribute to Coun Paul Maiden who also died earlier this year .
He said: “We all felt a very sad loss in this room of my good friend Coun Paul Maiden and I’d like to thank him for all the hard work he did for residents and all the fun moments he gave us in council.
“I’d also like to thank the residents of Bryn, I must have the luckiest residents.
"Whether the rollercoaster is up or down, they’ll always support me.
"I would have been lying if I’d said I wasn’t scared when I announced I was coming back, but with that result I really owe them a lot.
"I won’t be going anywhere for a long time.”
In a successful night for Labour, the evening ended on a sour note at Leigh Sports Village as the reds were accused of running a negative campaign by the one Conservative who won a seat in Leigh.
Coun Edward Houlton condemned their campaign as "vile”, citing their position on the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and High Speed Rail 2 in Lowton and Golborne as a fallacy. Leigh MP James Grundy agreed on this point.
Edward Houlton, retained his seat in Lowton East for the Conservatives. After his victory he sent a fiery message to the Labour party by stating he had “never seen such a vile election in my entire life”.
At the Leigh count, Independent Network leader Stuart Gerrard retained his seat in Atherton with a healthy majority. Independent candidate Andy Brown came close to Labour’s Barry Taylor in the second closest contest in Leigh – but fell short by just over 200 votes.
Coun Keith Cunliffe, deputy leader for Labour in Wigan, said: “I think it has been a fantastic election for the Wigan borough Labour group, especially considering we took Orrell. All the increases we were hoping for came off.
“Bearing in mind last year we kept hold of all of our seats, this year we actually gained some. It came down to the cost of living crisis and energy prices and how the Government was incapable of coming up with a solution for people on low wages.
“We have gained seats in the council where we have very little to actually gain. We will continue to run Wigan Council and we hope to continue to be one of the most outstanding councils in the country.”
Coun Cunliffe was of the belief that Labour were dominant due to the handling of the cost of living crisis by the Conservatives, but Leigh’s MP, who was in attendance at the count in Leigh believed their campaign contained falsehoods.
“We were disappointed to see the Labour campaign saying that we were the ones that put forward this HS2 in Lowton and Golborne and tried to claim CAZ was not their idea,” Leigh MP James Grundy said. “The people in Lowton East saw through this though and voted in Edward Houlton once again.
“I believe that next year we can regroup and we plan to make further progress in Leigh and in Wigan. Obviously I am disappointed to see that we lost Orrell and Michael Winstanley, but he will be back next year to take back his seat.”
Mr Grundy also stated his disappointment in the low turnout with only Astley Mosley Common and Lowton East getting above a 35 per cent turnout in Leigh.
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 votes, with results being revealed relatively quickly.
Turnout was overall fairly low, with Wigan recording 26 per cent, while Makerfield recorded 26.7 per cent.
Labour now has 61 of the 75 seats on Wigan Council.
These are the full results:
Abram: David Bowker (Ind) 812, Stanley Crook (Cons) 290, Graham Suddick (Lib Dem) 120, Carl Sweeney (Lab) 1240.
Ashton: Paul Martin (Cons) 557, Geoffrey Matthews (Lib Dem) 92, James Richardson (Ind) 470, Anthony Sykes (Lab) 1281.
Aspull, Whelley and New Springs: Paul Chapman (Cons) 798, Ron Conway (Lab) 2025.
Astley Mosley Common: Andy Brown (Ind) 1122, David Stirzaker (Cons) 867, Barry Taylor (Lab) 1368.
Atherleigh: Natasha Hodgkinson (Ind Net) 433, Zoe Irlam (Leigh & Atherton Independents) 127, Angela Roberts (Cons) 469, Debra Wailes (Lab) 1099 .
Atherton: Paul Fairhurst (Cons) 274, Stuart Gerrard (Ind Net) 1518, Julie Hilling (Lab) 855, John Quinton Smith (Atherton Independent) 306.
Bryn: David Aitchison (Lab) 691, Steve Jones (Ind) 1772, Sandip Tailor (Cons) 128, Stuart Thomas (Lib Dem) 58.
Douglas: Mary Callaghan (Lab) 1457, Michael Riley (Cons) 480.
Golborne and Lowton West: Susan Gambles (Lab) 1488, James Geddes (Cons) 695, Andrew Holland (Lib Dem) 180.
Hindley: Jordan Gaskell (UKIP) 231, John Skipworth (Lib Dem) 288, Jim Talbot (Lab) 1304 and Marie Winstanley (Cons) 397.
Hindley Green: Susan Atherton (Cons) 461, Deborah Lloyd (Ind Net) 381, James Palmer (Lab) 1252, Gary Skipworth (Lib Dem) 191.
Ince: Allan Atherton (Cons) 518, James Moodie (Lab) 1143.
Leigh East (two seats): Trevor Barton (Cons) 734, Simon Brooks (Lib Dem) 215, Shelley Guest (Lab) 1418, Stephen Gunby (Cons) 495, James Morley (Leigh East ind) 435, Fred Walker (Lab) 1123.
Leigh South: Christopher Noon (Lib Dem) 327, Charles Rigby (Lab) 1561, Joshua Yates (Cons) 1143.
Leigh West: Samantha Brown (Lab) 1566, Jayson Hargreaves (Leigh West Ind) 402, Sharron-Lee Honey (Lib Dem) 73, Tracey McClelland (Cons) 505.
Lowton East: Edward Houlton (Cons) 1995, Garry Lloyd (Lab) 1770.
Orrell: Neil Stevenson (Lib Dem) 313, Michael Winstanley (Cons) 1353, Dave Wood (Labour and Co-operative) 1387.
Pemberton: David Burley (Lib Dem) 125 , Jean Peet (Cons) 311, Tony Porter (Ind) 355, Paul Prescott (Lab) 1187.
Shevington with Lower Ground: Brian Crombie-Fisher (Lib Dem) 339, Gareth Fairhurst (Shevington Independents Part Wigan Independents) 783, Vicky Galligan (Lab) 1307, Gary Robinson (Cons) 566.
Standish with Langtree: Judith Atherton (Cons) 1382, Debbie Fairhurst (Standish Independents) 686, Terry Mugan (Lab) 1346.
Tyldesley: Gerard Houlton (Cons) 890, Joanne Marshall (Lab) 1755.
Wigan Central: George Davies (Lab) 1588, Cyril Pendlebury (Cons) 853, Caroline Waddicor (Lib Dem) 378.
Wigan West: Margaret Atherton (Cons) 442, Phyll Cullen (Labour) 1542, Ian Dyer (Lib Dem) 483.
Winstanley: Clive Morgan (Lab) 1428, Robert Stevenson (Lib Dem) 327, Margaret Winstanley (Cons) 641.
Worsley Mesnes: Danny Cooke (Ind) 396, Patricia Holland (Lab) 1363, Donald Macnamara (Lib Dem) 122, Michael Owens (Cons) 391.