Wigan local election 2024: Labour retains strong majority

The Labour Party comfortably held onto its council majority in Wigan, keeping the overall 21 seats they were defending, although two seats changed hands.

With one-third of seats up for grabs, Mike Smith triumphed over Tory incumbent Kathleen Houlton in Lowton East by 2,179 votes to 1,845, leaving the Conservatives with just a single councillor in Wigan.

But Labour’s Janice Smith was narrowly overtaken by the independent Tony Whyte, leaving the party in the same position as it had been before Thursday’s voting. 

Labour retains full control of the council with 64 seats, while independents have ten. It was another dismal performance for the Conservatives, who face widespread defeats across the country. Reform UK stood in five wards and received votes in the hundreds, an attack on the Tory share of the vote from the right flank. 

Wigan council leader, Labour’s Cllr David Molyneux, told the Manchester Evening News: “I think there’s been a lot of hard work done by all of our candidates. There’s a feeling everybody wants a general election, and that’s the story we get on the doorstep.”

Labour’s deputy council leader Cllr Keith Cunliffe added: “We’ve had Conservative voters telling us they won’t turn up to vote for the party, we’ve even had some say they’ll vote Labour.”

Like in other areas across Greater Manchester, the count was delayed by the mayoral election, but eventually staff at Robin Park and Leigh Sports Village were given the go-ahead to verify the votes. 

Voters went to the ballot in areas including Wigan Central, Wigan West, Abram, Douglas, Hindley, Leigh Central and Higher Folds, Leigh South, Pemberton, and Standish.

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