Polls open as the UK decides

The Polling Station at Marsh Green Community Centre
The Polling Station at Marsh Green Community Centre

WIGANERS are having their say in what has been dubbed the most important general election in a generation as polling stations opened across the UK.

In addition to the borough’s three parliamentary seats, 25 places on Wigan Council are up for grabs, one in each ward.

Results are expected in the early hours of Friday morning with the local election outcomes announced tomorrow afternoon.

While Wigan, Makerfield and Leigh’s three incumbent Labour MPs remain odds-on favourites to retain their Westminster seats, UKIP and the Conservatives will be hoping to make an impact.

Wigan has not had a non-Labour MP since 1918 when Conservative Reginald James Neville lost the seat he won in 1910.

Makerfield, which has been a Labour seat since the constituency was formed in 1983, is regarded as one of the safest Labour seats in the country.

Its predecessor constituencies have been Labour controlled since 1906.

Leigh last had a non-Labour MP between 1910 and 1922 during the tenure of Liberal Peter Raffan.

The local elections have thrown up some intriguing battles which could see several new faces in the council chamber.

Among the most closely fought wards include Bryn where opposition leader Coun Gary Wilkes of the Wigan Independent Network is taking on five other candidates.

Nathan Murray (Labour)Stephen Jones (Ukip), Catherine Aspey (Community Action Party), Judith Atherton (Conservatives) and David Wilkes (Independent) are looking to oust the WIN leader.

And in Standish an increasingly bitter battle has been ongoing between Emma Appleton (Ukip), George Fairhurst (Standish Independents), Sharon Holden (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition), Debbie Parkinson (Labour) and Ray Whittingham (Conservative). Polling stations remain open until 10pm.

For comprehensive results coverage visit our live blog by clicking here