LEIGH has been at the centre of national events recently, with Liz Truss visiting the town as part of the Conservative leadership contest that will pick our next Prime Minister.

I was in attendance at the GB News organised hustings event myself, and appeared on Michelle Dewberry's programme immediately afterwards.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, given the local nature of the audience, the issue that got the biggest cheer at the hustings was when Liz Truss again expressed her support for 'Lexit', the creation of a local council for Leigh, independent from Wigan Council.

Perhaps the most telling response was the furious reaction from the small number of Labour activists who had infiltrated the audience. At least we now know that Labour locally is ideologically committed to keeping Leigh under the yoke of Wigan Council forever. Nice to know, I suppose.

Given the attention granted to this issue, I thought it might be worthwhile to lay out the process by which a new council for Leigh would be created by the Government.

Firstly, it would need to be demonstrated that there was public support for an independent council for Leigh. It is often forgotten that the people of Leigh campaigned forcefully, but unfortunately unsuccessfully, to stay out of Wigan Council back in 1973, and I suspect public sentiment has changed little since.

For the record, during the same period of local government reorganisation in 1973, Bury managed to successfully avoid being merged into Rochdale Council, and Warrington avoided being merged into Greater Manchester. Both have been much happier and much more successful towns as a result.

The second stage of the process would be to establish the viability of any new local authority by the Government. Some might suggest that Leigh would be too small for our own local authority, but many smaller authorities already exist, such as Rutland Council in the Midlands, who managed to reverse their forced merger with Leicestershire in the 1990s and have been much happier since.

An independent Leigh Council would be able to set their own rate of council tax, engineered to meet the priorities of residents. Furthermore, Leigh residents would know we were getting value for money as the funds raised would have to be spent locally, instead of being directed disproportionately towards Wigan.

The third stage of the process, given the first two are successfully demonstrated, would be final approval for the creation of a new local authority by the Government. Should Liz Truss be successful in the leadership election, I think we can all reasonably anticipate this final stage would largely be a formality.

It may finally be time, to repurpose a phrase, to 'Get Lexit Done'.