THE decision of the Information Commissioners’ Office to keep secret the identity of two Bolton councillors who failed to pay council tax has divided opinion among the town's three political parties.

Bolton Council leader and Labour leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “At least the ICO has seen the details of each case and considered them on an individual basis, but the main thing is that all councillors should keep their affairs in order.

"I think this issue has provided a wake-up call for councillors to check their financial responsibilities have been met.”

Bolton’s Tory leader, Cllr David Greenhalgh, was unavailable for comment.

Deputy leader for Bolton Conservatives, Cllr Andrew Morgan, said: “The ICO has reached the correct decision.

“It is the case that councillors are entitled to the same level of privacy as any member of the public.”

Bolton’s Liberal Democrats leader, Cllr Roger Hayes, added: “I am surprised and disappointed by the ICO’s decision.

"People who put themselves up for election should have a lower expectation of privacy than the average member of the public.”