Wigan local elections: Race to win over voters enters final stages
With just a couple of days to go until the borough goes to the polls in the local elections the race to convince voters who to back is entering its final stages.
A broad slate of candidates have spent the past few weeks campaigning to secure one of the 25 seats in the council chamber, one for each of the borough’s wards, which is up for grabs.
All the persuasion and leafletting, though, comes to an end on Thursday when residents will head to the ballot box and decide who they want to represent them.
There are a number of intriguing races this time as opposition parties and groups look to eat into Labour’s large majority in the chamber.
Last time these seats were contested in 2015 there was also a general election and the red rosette dominated, scooping 23 of the 25 seats.
But the higher turnout when council and Westminster representatives are decided on the same day tends to favour the biggest national parties, suggesting it could be a different story this time around.
Some of the most intriguing races fall in areas where the opposition already have two seats and are looking to make it a clean sweep.
Sylvia Wilkinson is hoping to ensure the Bryn Independents have all three seats in that ward, while Bishop Steven Evans of the Living Faith Church wants to make it three out of three seats for the Conservatives in Orrell.
Labour is also defending its last seat in Hindley Green, with Deborah Lloyd standing for the Independent Network (IN) against environmental campaigner John Vickers who is wearing the red rosette.
That is not the only significant victory the IN, which is having its campaign managed by veteran former opposition councillor Norman Bradbury, hopes to rack up as it will secure all three seats in Atherton if James Paul Watson wins.
Labour and the Conservatives are standing candidates in all 25 wards, with the next-biggest slate of 21 candidates being put up by Eurosceptic party Ukip.
The Liberal Democrats have 13 candidates, the Greens have six, the Independent Network has five and new party Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley Together (LATT) has four for its electoral debut.
A number of high-profile politicians are also seeking another term, with cabinet members Chris Ready and Jenny Bullen facing the voters in Aspull New Springs Whelley and Ashton respectively.
Former mayor Billy Rotherham is up for election in Worsley Mesnes while the only non-Labour councillors looking to retain seats are Conservative Kath Houlton in Lowton East and independent George Fairhurst in Standish.
The election is on Thursday, with polling stations open from 7am until 10pm. Counts will then take place in Wigan and Leigh with results being declared in the early hours of Friday morning.
Anyone unsure of how to cast their vote can find their polling station in the Elections section of Wigan Council’s website or at https://wheredoivote.co.uk/
The full list of candidates standing in the local elections is:
Abram: David Bowker (Ind), Beverley Bridgewater (Cons), Eunice Smethurst (Lab), Frank Swift (Ukip).
Ashton: Jenny Bullen (Lab), Geoffrey Matthews (Lib Dem), Michael Moulding (Ind Net), Mark Temperton (Ukip), Marie Winstanley (Cons).
Aspull New Springs Whelley: Andrew Holland (Lib Dem), Chris Ready (Lab), Nathan Sweeney (Cons).
Astley Mosley Common: Allan Hogg (Ukip), Christine Roberts (Lab), Richard Short (Cons).
Atherleigh: Mark Aldred (Lab), Susan Davies (LATT), Paul Fairhurst (Cons), Mary Lavelle (Ukip), Kevin Lee (Ind Net).
Atherton: Marjorie Clayton (Cons), Glenn Marsh (Ukip), Quinton Smith (LATT), David Keir Stitt (Lab), James Paul Watson (Ind Net).
Bryn: Danny Fletcher (Lab), Philip Hayden (Ukip), Denise Melling (Lib Dem), Sylvia Wilkinson (Ind), Margaret Winstanley (Cons).
Douglas: Margaret Atherton (Cons), John Blondel (Ind), Dalila Garcia Fearn (Ukip), Peter Jacobs (Green), Sheila Ramsdale (Lab).
Golborne Lowton West: Stuart Blakeley (Ukip), Gerard Houlton (Cons), Gena Merrett (Lab), Susan Spibey (Ind).
Hindley: Jim Churton (Lab), Jim Ellis (Ind Net), Neil Hancox (Green), Claire Houlton (Cons), John Skipworth (Lib Dem).
Hindley Green: Susan Atherton (Cons), Gillian Gibson (Ukip), Joshua Hindle (Lib Dem), Deborah Lloyd (Ind Net), John Vickers (Lab).
Ince: Grace Aspey (Cons), Nathan McIntyre (Ukip), Jimmy O’Neill (Ind), Janice Sharratt (Lab).
Leigh East: John Dowsett (Lib Dem), Richard Houlton (Cons), James Morley (LATT), Aiden Slack (Ukip), Anita Thorpe (Lab).
Leigh South: John O’Brien (Lab), Leon Peters (Ukip), Connor Short (Cons).
Leigh West: Dane Anderton (Lab), Brian Aspinall (Ukip), Jayson Lomax-Hargreaves (LATT), Natalie Smalley (Lib Dem), Denise Young (Cons).
Lowton East: Mary Houghton (Ukip), Kathleen Houlton (Cons), Garry Lloyd (Lab).
Orrell: Denise Capstick (Lib Dem), Steven Evans (Cons), Donald McQueen (Green), Stephen Murphy (Lab).
Pemberton: Craig Buckley (Ukip), David Burley (Lib Dem), Jean Peet (Cons), Eileen Rigby (Lab).
Shevington with Lower Ground: Paul Collins (Lab), Gareth Fairhurst (Ind), Michael Owens (Cons), Joseph Rylance (Green), Derek Wilkes (Ukip).
Standish with Langtree: Judith Atherton (Cons), Carl Davies (Ukip), George Fairhurst (Ind), Debbie Parkinson (Lab), Neil Stevenson (Lib Dem).
Tyldesley: Kerry Ford (Ukip), Stephen Hellier (Lab), Julian Marsh (Ind), David Stirzaker (Cons).
Wigan Central: Lewis Evans (Cons), Michael McLoughlin (Lab), Tony Spencer (Ind), Stuart Thomas (Lib Dem).
Wigan West: Steve Dawber (Lab), Yamini Gupta (Cons), Will Patterson (Green), Nathan Ryding (Ukip), Caroline Waddicor (Lib Dem).
Winstanley: Allan Atherton (Cons), Steven Heyes (Green), Marie Morgan (Lab), Scott Sheedy (Ukip), Robert Stevenson (Lib Dem).
Worsley Mesnes: Mikah Evans (Cons), Maureen McCoy (Ukip), Clifford Oakley (Ind), Billy Rotherham (Lab).
Key: Lab - Labour, Cons - Conservatives, Lib Dem - Liberal Democrats, Green - Green, Ukip - UK Independence Party, Ind - Independent, Ind Net - Independent Network, LATT - Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley Together.