THE longest serving Conservative councillor in the Leigh area believes he has a 'fighting chance' of succeeding Andy Burnham as the town's next MP.

Cllr James Grundy has been named as the Conservative candidate for the upcoming General Election.

The 38-year-old admits he has his work cut out trying to ungrip Labour's stranglehold on Leigh's seat in Parliament but he is determined to succeed.

Cllr Grundy, who has served Lowton East since being elected in 2008, said: "I am incredibly honoured to have the chance to stand for MP of Leigh.

“Overturning a 14,000 majority is a hard task but it can happen, as Michael Portillo knows only too well.

“We think we can really make a fight of it this time around.

“The results of the Greater Manchester mayoral election were very interesting.

“Many Labour voters in places like Westleigh put the Conservative candidate Sean Anstee as their second choice, which is something a lot of people would not have considered in years gone by.

“My job is to turn those second preferences into a first.

“As someone who is local, moderate and with a record of hard work and three landslide council victories, I hope I will be able to do that."

Cllr Grundy has vowed to help deliver the best possible Brexit, fight for a train station to be built in Leigh, work on the town and surrounding areas breaking away from Wigan and becoming a metropolitan borough in its own right, protect green belt land from housing developers and regenerate towns like Atherton, Tyldesley and Golborne.

He said: “I think the pledges I am making are moderate, popular and achievable and relate to issues that have been sources of grievances in Leigh and surrounding communities for many years."

Cllr Grundy was unveiled as Leigh's Conservative candidate at the end of a a Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (LENDF) meeting on Monday night.

It was held at Lowton Social Club.

The other candidates to have been announced are Cllr Joanne Platt (Labour), Richard Kilpatrick (Liberal Democrats) and Mark Bradley (UKIP).

The Journal has contacted the Green Party to find out who its candidate will be but has received no response.