THE leader of the Bolton Conservative group has resigned after the party lost four of its seats to Labour in the local elections.

Long-serving Cllr John Walsh, who held the role for six years, stood down after constituents became “disillusioned”.

He will be replaced by Cllr David Greenhalgh, who represents Bromley Cross.

Cllr Andy Morgan, who represents Hulton, was elected as deputy leader by 16 members of the group.

Cllr Walsh, who represents Astley Bridge, said: “I decided not to stand again. I have been leader for a number of years.

“The new leadership team seeks to win seats back when the climate should be a lot better than this year.

“I thought it was the opportune time and I will serve the party as I have always done. I am sure Cllr Greenhalgh will do his utmost.”

Cllr Walsh has served as a Conservative councillor for 30 years.

Cllr Greenhalgh said the Conservatives in Bolton need a “fresh start” to show to residents it is not a group only for the wealthy.

He said: “We now have the opportunity of a fresh start under a new leadership team.

“I genuinely believe that the Conservatives can run our town better, but I also appreciate that a huge number of the electorate has become disillusioned with us, and indeed, with politics in general.

“We not only have to continue to stand by our key principles, but we also have to reconnect with those people and persuade them that our policies will benefit them, their families and our town.

“I do not want to lead a group that is perceived to only represent those that are better off. I want to send a positive message that my party and group will listen and stand up for all residents of Bolton and, above all, will offer policies that are credible, deliverable and represent the best value for the taxpayer.”

Cllr Morgan added: “The public of Bolton have spoken and we, as a group and as a party, now have to rebuild locally.

“We need to connect with all sections of our community to ensure that we are responding and addressing their concerns and needs.”

Cllr Hilary Fairclough will be the chief whip and Cllr Phil Ashcroft will be the group whip.