The Conservatives lost control of Chorley Borough Council on a night of high drama at the Town Hall.
Chief executive Donna Hall, who was the returning officer, announced the final result at 2.50am which meant the Tories lost overall control of the Council as Labour took nine of the 15 seats available.
The biggest shock came at the end of the night when new-kid-on-the-block, 20-year-old Matthew Crow (Labour) beat Liberal Dem veteran Nora Ball for the Coppull seat with 1,141 votes to her 682.
Matthew, who works as a volunteer for Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle, said; “I’m glad people have voted for a young Labour candidate. I see an opportunity to bring something a bit different to my local community. Four generations of my family live in and love Coppull.”
Among the big winners and losers on the night were executive cabinet member, Peter Malpas, who lost his seat of Chorley North West and Labour’s Steve Murfitt who beat Tory, Mike Devaney, to claim the Clayton-Le-Woods North ward.
The net result after five hours of counting was that the Conservatives remain the biggest party in Chorley council with 23 of the 47 seats available – a decrease of four seats. While Labour remain the biggest opposition party with 20 wards – an increase of five.
But now no party has overall control of Chorley council and the final verdict will be decided at a full council meeting next week.
It could mean that the Lib Dems, who have two seats, and Chorley’s two Independent candidates join forces with Labour to form a coalition.
Voters decided the fate of 15 of the 47 council seats. Ten of which were previously held by the Conservatives.
Several high profile councillors, including leader Peter Goldsworthy and executive cabinet members, Kevin Joyce, Greg Morgan and Peter Malpas, were up for re-election. Mr Malpas lost his seat to Labour’s Pauline Phipps.
Mr Morgan retained his Clayton-le-Woods and Whittle-le-Woods seat, while Kevin Joyce will remain councillor for Eccleston and Mawdesley.
Speaking at the Town Hall in the early hours of Friday morning, Coun= Goldsworthy, who won his Euxton South seat with 734 votes, said; “If Labour take control they’ll do to Chorley what they did to the country. It’ll be a Government of high taxation and bankruptcy and we certainly don’t want that.”
Labour leader Alistair Bradley, who wasn’t contesting a seat on the night, said; “It means a lot that the people have voted for Labour. We’ve got ideas and we want to save people’s money and use it more effectively.”
Lib Dem leader Ken Ball had a special interest in the local elections as his wife, Nora, was fighting for her Coppull seat.
Councillor Ball, who is also the Chorley Mayor, said; “We’re gutted that Nora has lost her seat.
“I think it’s because Nick Clegg has done us no favours in Parliament. I’m not happy and I’m thinking of going Independent after this.”
Nora added; “I’m really upset. I take things very personally. My main concern was what is happening in Parliament. “This is a local election and should be about local issues.”