LABOUR took more than half the votes cast to win the Harper Green by-election on Thursday.

The party's candidate Susan Haworth will join the ward's two other Labour councillors in the Town Hall chamber after securing 51 per cent of the vote — down from 56.7 per cent in May.

In second place was Jeff Armstrong for UKIP, who took 33.5 per cent — an increase of nine per cent — while Robert Tyler held his 12 per cent vote for the Conservative party,

The Green Party beat the Liberal Democrats into fourth place, while Independent candidate Joseph Holt finished last.

Senior Labour sources dismissed claims that the election showed UKIP was chipping away at its traditional strongholds, but the newly-elected Cllr Haworth said the party hadn’t underestimated the challenge posed by the group.

She said: "I'm very pleased - I feel we had to work hard and we had to answer questions that were put to us.

"The most important thing is to be a good ward councillor with my two Labour colleagues, to represent Harper Green and to do a lot of listening to what people's concerns are.

"I also want to work hard with the council which is doing its very best for the constituents of Bolton while it finds these large cuts."

UKIP candidate Jeff Armstrong said he was pleased that the party’s share increased.

He said: “It was always going to be difficult to win Harper Green, and the turnout was disappointing.

“I think we have got to get out and encourage more people to vote — we nearly won Farnworth, nearly won Kearsley and did well in Harper Green so it shows that if people turn out and vote we will win.

“UKIP is getting more members and there’s now a campaigns committee which we have never had before, but our problem was funds are limited and we’re competing with Labour who are able to send out more leaflets.”

Leader of the Conservatives Cllr David Greenhalgh acknowledged it was a poor result for his party, but argued Labour were losing more to the UKIP threat.

He said: “It’s disappointing we only polled 12 per cent, but what tonight shows is that UKIP are definitely eating into Labour heartlands.

“In the long run it means Labour will have to do a lot of work in their traditional strongholds — in Kearsley, in Breightmet, Tonge Moor — areas that were previously very safe.”

The election of Cllr Haworth means there are now 40 Labour councillors, 15 Comservatives, three Liberal Democrats and two UKIP members.


Votes cast: 2319. Turnout: 23.5%

Jeff Armstrong, UKIP: 777

Rebekah Fairhurst, Liberal Democrats: 28

Susan Haworth, Labour: 1176

Joseph Holt, Independent: 19

James Tomkinson, Green Party: 38

Robert Tyler, Conservatives: 282