Independent candidates and parties are big winners in this year’s local elections, gaining 300 seats so far across the country.
In Greater Manchester Labour lost Bolton MBC to no overall control for the first time since 2011 after independents picked up four of the seven seats they lost. The Lib Dems gained another two and the Conservatives gained one.
Two hyper-local parties - Horwich and Blackrod First Independents and Farnworth and Kearsley First – both took two seats each. Horwich and Blackrod First’s co-founder, Marie Brady, told LGC she thinks that her party is gaining ground because Labour locally has “ignored many of the outlying towns”. “You only need to compare the result to Chorley next door, where they gained five seats,” she said. “The people of Horwich and Blackrod have spoken and now they must be heard.”
Labour also lost the mayoralty on Middlesbrough BC, where its vote was down 11% as independent Andy Preston was elected.
And also in Nottinghamshire, the Ashfield Independents won 30 out of 35 seats to dominate Ashfield DC, gaining 26 seats, 20 of which came from Labour.
In nearby Nottingham City Council, the ‘Nottingham Independents’, which was formed last year, won three seats to become the second biggest party at Nottingham City Council after Labour.
And in Wigan MBC, where Labour had fielded Momentum-backed candidates, it lost three seats to independent candidates.
The Conservatives also lost out to independent candidates
On Maldon DC, independent candidates gained 11 seats from the Tories and one from Ukip, slashing the Conservative’s majority to just three seats.
Independent councillor Kevin Lagan took his seat by a landslide in Maldon South, telling the Maldon and Burnham Standard that the fact he had no Labour or Conservative beside his name label “in fact aided him” in this year’s campaign.