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BOLTON: Candidates for next month’s council elections finalised

BOLTON: Candidates for next month’s council elections finalised

Image: LDRS

FINAL nominations have been confirmed for next month’s elections with more than a third of the seats on the delicately balanced Bolton Council up for grabs.

Voters will go to the polls on Thursday, May 6 in all 20 wards in the borough.

In 19 wards voters will elect a single councillor with voters in Astley Bridge electing two members as there is an additional vacancy there.

The 60-strong council is currently led by the Conservative group, who have 17 councillors.

They retain control by virtue of a working arrangement with Farnworth and Kearsley First, who have four councillors, Horwich and Blackrod Independents, who have two representatives and UKIP,  who also have two.

The Liberal Democrats, who have six sitting councillors, were part of the ‘working arrangement’ with the Tories until earlier this year, but they pulled out of that agreement after a row about a councillor joining the Conservative group.

The official opposition is Labour, who have 18 current members.

Among the high profile councillors standing for election are Conservative cabinet member for environmental and regulatory services, Hilary Fairclough, who is on the ballot sheet in Astley Bridge.

Liberal Democrat leader Roger Hayes is hoping to be returned to the council in Smithills ward.

Probably the highest profile departure from the council is long-standing Labour councillor, Cliff Morris.

The former leader of the council is standing down from his Halliwell seat.

He stepped down at the end of 2017 amid controversy over his leadership after 11 years in charge of the council.

The Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates for every seat.

The Green Party have 16 candidates standing while newly formed party Bolton For Change is fielding eight candidates.

Hyper-local parties Horwich and Blackrod First Independents, Farnworth and Kearsley First, Active For Westhoughton and Westhoughton First Independents will put forward candidates in the two wards in each of their respective areas.

The candidates list is completed by one Independent, one For Britain contender and a UKIP challenger.

Conservative leader David Greenhalgh leader said his party were ‘committed to levelling-up our borough, whether that’s in Bolton town centre or our great towns of Farnworth, Kearsley, Little Lever, Horwich, Blackrod or Westhoughton’.

Labour group leader, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “After our defeat in 2019, I wanted to start a new conversation with local people.

“We have regrouped and have returned stronger than ever with a radical and reforming manifesto that will offer new and alternative solutions to the people of our borough in the face of 10 years of Tory austerity.”

Lib Dems have campaigned strongly recently on protection of the borough’s green belt and have also proposed cutting the number of councillors to save costs.

The Green Party say their candidates will do year-round hard work and fight for a greener recovery from the pandemic.

New party Bolton For Change say traditional parties put ‘their interests before that of the people’ and say they will ‘truly represent’ the people of Bolton.

Words: Chris Gee, Local Democracy Reporter

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