Ukip vying for council chamber

Wigan Town Hall
Wigan Town Hall

UKIP’s tilt at gaining a council seat in Wigan has been stepped up this year with a candidate in all but one of the borough’s wards.

The right wing party, which made gains in last year’s local elections with a 16 per cent share of the votes without gaining a seat, will be hoping to go a step further in next month’s poll.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are offering the electorate a party representative in every ward.

The Green Party is contesting in nine wards and the Left Unity group in seven.

Ukip’s rise to posting a candidate in almost every ward is in stark contrast to the Liberal Democrats who have just two candidates - John Skipworth in Hindley and Lorraine Gillon in Tyldesley - standing.

Bryn ward will be the most hotly contested with five hopefuls bidding to oust official opposition leader Gary Wilkes from his seat.

Coun Wilkes’s deputy for the Wigan Independent Network, Coun Norman Bradbury, is also standing for another term in Atherton.

Abram and Lowton East are the wards with the fewest choices available with three respectively.

Two standing Labour councillors - Joel Haddley in Ashton and Brendan Bowen in Astley Mosley Common - have opted not to stand for another term and have vacated their seats in the council chamber.

At last year’s local elections the ruling Labour party gained more than 50 per cent of the turnout.

The overall turnout was 28.5 per cent but with this year’s poll running alongside the general election, that figure is expected to increase markedly.

Voters across the country will go to the polls on Thursday, May 7 in what is expected to be one of the closest general elections in recent history. Polling stations will be open throughout the borough between 7am and 10pm, for a full list of stations visit the Wigan Council democratic services website.

For a full list of candidates for both the local and general elections in the borough see this week’s Wigan Observer.