Updated: Saturday, 25th January 2020 @ 8:25am

LOCAL ELECTIONS 2012: Rochdale plays the waiting game as council chiefs seek electricity assurances

LOCAL ELECTIONS 2012: Rochdale plays the waiting game as council chiefs seek electricity assurances

By Nic Watmough, Jack Drummond & Darren Heath

Council chiefs in Rochdale have said they will not start counting ballot papers until they get assurances that the Town Hall will not be plunged into darkness again.

The electricity went off shortly after councillors and members of the press arrived at Rochdale Town Hall this evening and was off for more than 30 minutes.

Counters have now been brought back into the main counting hall but there has been no decision over whether the count will go ahead tonight.

Council bosses fear that if the power was cut whilst ballot papers were being counted, it would be a security risk.

A council spokesman said: “We’re waiting on an announcement and should know within a few minutes if the count will go ahead. For now everyone, including us, just has to wait.”

Cllr James Gartside said: "Nobody knows what will happen yet. It is too early to say but we hope that when the boxes are opened, it'll just be Tory votes inside and no-one elses!"

His Conservative colleague Mohammad Sharif, who switched to the Tories from the Lib Dems, said he was worried the count would be cancelled.

He added: "I want it to go ahead tonight. I have been working tirelessly on my campaign, which i think has gone very well. I am 99% sure i've got it. It's very close with the Lib Dems but i think ive got it."