Manchester

Bolton Council: Tories take control for first time in four decades

Bolton Town Hall Image copyright LDRS
Image caption Following Labour's losses at the local elections, the council was left in no overall control

The Conservatives have taken control of Bolton Council for the first time in four decades, despite having fewer councillors than Labour.

Labour lost seven seats at the local elections and were well short of the 31 seats needed to retain control.

Minor parties have voted for Tory councillor David Greenhalgh to become the new council leader.

However, the Liberal Democrats, UKIP and two local parties have denied a coalition with the Conservatives.

Labour, which remains the largest party, has accused the other parties of breaking convention by putting a party with a smaller number of councillors in charge.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Labour councillor Akthar Zaman told a council meeting that the authority was "in unchartered territory", adding that "conventions have been ignored, unwritten rules have been torn up".

"The Bolton way has been abandoned," he said.

Liberal Democrat group leader Roger Hayes said there was no such convention and insisted it would benefit the borough before urging Labour to reflect on their losses.

"At some stage, you'll take control again, I have no doubt," he told the meeting.

"But you do need to learn the lessons of the last few years."

The Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Farnworth & Kearsley First and Horwich and Blackrod First Independents signed a 25-point agreement setting out the council's priorities in return for installing a Conservative administration.

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