Labour again dominated election night in Wigan, although there were notable gains for opposition parties, including independents.
The ruling group won 20 out of 25 available seats but saw their number in the council chamber reduce by three to 57.
Independent candidates saw victories in Bryn, Atherton and Hindley as the Conservative group held Lowton East and gained in Orrell.
Labour leader Coun David Molyneux said his party had ‘done okay’ but had suffered from a deterioration in voters’ attitude toward politics because of the government’s handling of Brexit.
“I think it’s both the Brexit story and people’s perception in general, they’ve taken a knock in the last few months,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
“The way the national government has dealt with Brexit has come out on the doorstep, but certainly from a local point of view we’ve done okay, we’ve got a good story to tell and the people out there continue to support us.”
Independent Network representative Jim Ellis – who lost his seat in 2016 – secured a return to the council chamber ousting Labour’s Jim Churton in Hindley.
And in Atherton, fellow Independent Network (IN) member James Paul Watson dealt a further blow to Labour, meaning all three councillors in that ward represent IN.
Likewise, Sylvia Wilkinson’s win in Bryn ward, again a gain from Labour, will see all three ward representatives from the Bryn Independents group.
Conservative Kath Houlton retained her Lowton East berth and the Tories gained a seat in Orrell from Labour veteran Stephen Murphy.
Steven Evans’ victory means the ward is all Tory members, as he joins leader of the opposition Michael Winstanley.
Coun Winstanley said: “We’ve been in power for nine years (nationally), to come out of this election with an increased majority in Lowton, to miss out on Standish by under 100, and pick up Orrell is a phenomenal result for us.
“It you’ve got three councillors all working together [in one ward], it makes a tremendous difference and we played on that in the campaign.”
One of the biggest cheers of the night for the Labour group came for their win in Standish, ousting Standish Independent George Fairhurst.
It means Debbie Parkinson gets a council seat at the fifth attempt, having lost out by 15 votes last year.
She said: “It feels fantastic. We’ve been working hard for this, not just at election time, but for a number of years.”
Turnout for a majority of wards hovered between 20 and 30 per cent although the figures for the Leigh constituency wards were not released.
For Wigan wards the turnout was 25.9, wards in Makerfield; 26.8.
The results leave Labour with 57 (-3) seats, the various Independent groupings 10 (+2) and the Conservatives with eight (+1).