Labour had a spectacular night in Tameside claiming a near clean sweep as the Tories suffered a damaging night at the polls.
They claimed an extraordinary 18 of the 19 seats available with 16 holds, two gains and Conservatives managed one hold.
The biggest story of the night was Raja Miah gaining a seat in Tory stronghold Hyde Werneth – one in which they haven’t gained for 16 years.
“We have proven that we are willing to roll up our sleeves,” he said. “It has been a tough year for Hyde, but all I want is unity.
“I promise to be a councillor for all of Werneth,” he said.
His opponent, the incumbent Floyd Paterson was at the centre of pre-election storm as his leaflet campaign was branded as racist in many quarters.
Labour Council Leader Kieran Quinn was delighted with the Hyde Werneth gain and with his party’s performance in general.
He said: “The victory in Hyde is hugely significant – last time we won there the Tories had been in power for 12 years – this time it only took voters two years to realise they were wrong.
“It has been a great night for Tameside Labour. I am proud that the voters have shown their faith in us in this difficult time. They know that this government does not listen and does not care.”
He added: “Voters know that it will be difficult to move forward with the cuts forced upon us by the government, but I am extremely pleased that the voters know that Tameside Labour do listen and do care.”
Labour also made a significant gain in Ashton Hurst where a 20-year-old became the youngest councillor in Tameside history beating incumbent Tory Richard Ambler.
Leigh Drennan was delighted to take his first step into the world of politics.
“I am a member of a fantastic team who have given me all the support and guidance I needed in my first campaign,” he said. “When next year’s polls come around it will not be the failing economy and rising unemployment which will get the Tories out, it will be young Labour.”
“We will have to wait and see what the future holds.”
Opposition leader, John Bell was left extremely disappointed with only a narrow hold in Stalybridge South.
“Sadly, it looks like a disappointing night for us,” he said. “It looks like a protest vote from UKIP, who have done no work and put out no literature, has hurt us.”
Speaking before the results he said: “It will be a blow if we lose one of our heartlands of Stalybridge South or Hyde Werneth.”
In contrast, Cllr Quinn revelled in what he saw as a ‘magnificent night’ for his party.
“These are extreme times and we will make as best as we can so people can have the services they need for their community,” he said.