LABOUR councillors celebrated a resounding victory in Leigh's nine wards last night as opposition parties and independent candidates faced disappointment yet again. 

It was a comfortable night for Labour as the local election count ended with no changes to Leigh's contested seats in Atherton, Atherleigh, Tyldesley, Leigh West, Golborne Lowton West, Lowton East, Astley Mosley Common, Leigh East, and Leigh South.

Independent Network candidate Stuart Gerrard and Conservative Gerard Houlton held on to their seats in Atherton and Lowton East, yet other independent candidates, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats fell short of Labour's tally in the remaining wards across Leigh.

Leigh Journal: Votes were counted at Leigh Leisure CentreVotes were counted at Leigh Leisure Centre

With Labour picking up an extra three seats across the Wigan and Makerfield wards, this means that the council now stands with Labour holding 61 seats, the Conservatives with 7 seats, and independent candidates also with 7 seats. 

However, turnout was not recorded as being higher than 36% in any of the nine wards in Leigh.

Leigh Journal: 85 candidates were vying for a place on Wigan Council85 candidates were vying for a place on Wigan Council

What is the reaction from local politicians? 

Labour

After their win, every Labour councillor thanked voters for re-electing them and clarified their commitment to working hard for their constituents moving forward.

Atherleigh Councillor Debra Wailes said: "The people of Atherleigh are quite fantastic and I'm sad that I may be the last councillor for this ward if the boundaries are changed by the next election - thank you very much everyone."

Leigh Journal: Cllr Debra WailesCllr Debra Wailes

Dane Anderton, Chair of the Leigh Labour Party and Leigh West Councillor, said: "We are very pleased with our results across Leigh Constituency; in particular running a positive campaign in Lowton East which shrunk the conservative majority in the ward.

"As always our attention is on delivering value for money for every resident across the Leigh Constituency.

"We listen to the electorate and will now focus on the regeneration of Leigh Town Centre and our other district Towns, just as we listened and delivered through our Big Listening initiatives. We will at every turn ensure we get value for money and keep your council tax the lowest meaning we keep money in your pocket!

"With newly elected and re-elected Labour councillors joining our team we welcome the new ideas and breadth of experience which together will allow our direction for Leigh to work for the businesses and residents in our great Towns!".

Leigh Journal: Cllr Dane AndertonCllr Dane Anderton

Conservatives

Despite his re-election into Lowton East, Conservative Councillor Edward Houlton took a swipe at the local Labour party as he took to the podium.

Cllr Houlton said: "I have never seen a more vile election in my entire life. We'll see what happens next year with the boundary review - thankyou to my voters and I will continue to give you 12 months of my hardest work."

The councillor later clarified that his comments came after disagreements with the Labour party over their proposed Clean Air Zone charges, HS2 rail plans and a "lack of honesty" throughout their campaign.

Leigh Journal: Cllr Edward HoultonCllr Edward Houlton

At Leigh Leisure Centre, James Grundy MP also stated that he was "unimpressed" with a "lack of consistency" in Labour's position on issues such as the Clean Air Zone.

Giving his thoughts on the local election results, the former Lowton East councillor said: "I'm disappointed with the turnout and that we didn't get any more seats.

"However, I'm glad that we held what we had and held up in wards like Leigh South with a strong second place.

"We are working on our targets from over the last 12 months and I'm optimistic that this will give us time to regroup and plan to make further progress ahead of the all-out elections next year."

Leigh Journal: Leigh MP James Grundy was at the local election count in LeighLeigh MP James Grundy was at the local election count in Leigh

Independents

In a statement online, Independent Network Cllr Stuart Gerrard said: "A massive thank you to those who voted for me yesterday, it’s an honour and a privilege to serve this great community of Atherton and I will continue to work hard for you and the town."

Speaking to the Journal prior to the election result, Cllr Gerrard said that all wards need an independent voice that "work for residents rather than the party".

Promising the people of Atherton four more years of "hard work and dedication, before any party politics", he added that finalising the masterplan of Atherton town centre is one of his main priorities, as well as pushing the council to upgrade outer lying areas of the borough.

Leigh Journal: Independent Network Cllr Stuart GerrardIndependent Network Cllr Stuart Gerrard