The Conservatives kept a tight grip on Bury council’s Church and North Manor wards sweeping to victory in both by-elections yesterday.
In the North Manor ward, where turnout was 29%, Conservative candidate James Daly was elected with 1,324 votes and a majority of 681.
Labour candidate Jean Treadgold polled 643 votes, UKIP candidate Peter Entwistle 251, Green Party candidate Stewart Hay 126 and Liberal Democrat candidate Ewan Arthur 93.
Conservative candidate Susan Nuttall, wife of Bury North MP David Nuttall, snatched the Church ward vote with 1,371 votes and a majority of 263.
Labour candidate Sarah Kerrison received 1,108 votes, UKIP candidate Steven Evans 309 and Lib Dem candidate Kamran Islam just 35.
Turnout was 32.5%, and Ms Kerrison’s second place rank prompted Bury Councillor Cllr Tamoor Tariq to praise her ‘brilliant’ effort.
He indicated that the Conservative’s relatively small lead was evidence to suggest Bury North could return to Labour hands in 2015.
The double Tory win means that the council’s makeup will remain the same; Labour with a comfortable 36 seats, the Conservatives with 12, the Lib Dems holding two and an Independent one.
The by-election was held to find replacements for the seats vacated by Conservative councillors Bob Bibby and Jim Taylor, who both resigned citing ill-health earlier this year in the wake of a bribery scandal.
Both men were arrested regarding allegations two councillors were bribed over a 200-home planning application in the Dumers Lane area of Radcliffe.
The two ex-councillors were cleared of all charges and it was confirmed by police in June that they would face no further action.
Mr Bibby, who was leader of Bury Council between 2008 and 2011, had represented the Church ward since 1999.
Mr Taylor had represented the North Manor ward since 2000, and both men were due for council re-election in 2014.
Bury Council also announced that turnout for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, for which votes will be counted tomorrow, was just 14.98% across the borough, with turnout for this at Bury polling stations as opposed to using postal votes just 6%.
Resident Rebecca Hindle tweeted that turnout for the PCC was inevitably low because residents ‘had no idea who was running’.
“We had no leaflet or anything. I didn’t bother voting, I just think it’s ridiculous,” she said.
Other residents demanded to know via Twitter how many PCC vote papers had been spoiled, with Bury Council responding that this information would be available later today.