BOLTON West MP Julie Hilling has denied claims that UKIP voters may have helped her edge her way to victory at the last election.

Ms Hilling took the seat by only 92 votes following six recounts in the 2010 General Election, defeating Conservative candidate Susan Williams by 18,327 votes to 18,235.

Relations between the Conservatives and UKIP have come under strain, with both sides ruling out the prospect of an alliance at the next election in 2015.

And Bolton West has been singled out as one of 21 constituencies across the country where a Labour or Liberal Democrat candidate may have had the balance tipped in their favour by traditional Tory voters backing UKIP, which picked up 1,901 votes in 2010.

Former Trafford Council leader Ms Williams said memories of the night still “feel strange” and says she backs claims UKIP may have cost her a place in the Commons.

She said: “There is a huge amount of truth in that claim when you consider UKIP got almost 2,000 votes and a lot would have been Conservative votes and I would have won.

“That doesn’t, however, mean an alliance with UKIP is the way to go because people will make their own minds up.”

Ms Hilling said: “People who vote for major parties do so for all sorts of reasons.

“But you can’t say that if there wasn’t a UKIP people would have voted for Labour, Lib Dem or Conservative.

“The next election will be fought on the policies of the parties at the time.”