FLEDGLING political party Farnworth and Kearsley First has won its first seat on Bolton Council in a victory dubbed a 'political earthquake'. 

The party, aimed at getting a 'fair deal' for the people of Farnworth and Kearsley, beat Labour to the seat by 235 votes. 

Newly-elected Cllr Paul Sanders admitted he was 'shocked' by the result.

He said: "I’m shocked, it was the result I wanted but couldn’t taste or feel until now and I’m so grateful to the people who put their faith in me and gifted me their vote."

Farnworth and Kearsley First founding member Paul Heslop, said: "It's a political earthquake in the town hall tonight. 

"This monolith of misery has ruled for the last 40-odd years and the people of Farnworth have spoken. 

"Farnworth and Kearsley First is the first and it will not be the last."

Cllr Sanders said: "I just want to thank every single person who turned out and voted today, they have made me a councillor and sent a message that Farnworth and Kearsley just want a better deal, a fair share of the spending and the exposure.

"They have sent a message to Labour and to other areas, that feel they get an unfair slice of the cake, that they can do this as well."

Bolton Council leader, Cllr Linda Thomas, confirmed that the Labour party had heard the message. 

She said: "Farnworth residents have every right to be irritated by the pace of change and I say: we hear you. The people of Farnworth have sent us a message, and it is up to us to understand and listen to that message.

“We will continue the conversation with residents over the coming weeks and we will particularly be asking for their views on our bold regeneration plans, and acting on their concerns. 

“When I set out our vision in February I said that the regeneration of Farnworth town centre is a top priority and that things must move quicker. This was not another promise, this was the starting gun for real and lasting action to turn the future of Farnworth around for good. 

“Farnworth is the only nomination put forward by us from our borough for the ‘Town Centre Challenge’, which is backed by the Labour Mayor Andy Burnham, and it will bring benefits. We are raising Farnworth’s profile across Greater Manchester as we bid to boost economic and regeneration investment in the town.

“We are determined to keep up the pace of regeneration which we have set in motion."

Labour's MP for Bolton South East, Yasmin Qureshi, sent her congratulations to Cllr Sanders and said Labour would not sit by and the party would be out campaigning and listening tomorrow morning. 

Rebecca Minors, whose partner Darren Whitehead was a councillor for Hulton ward until his sudden death in November, stood for the first time for Labour.

She said: "We have run a very positive campaign and spoken to lots of residents and the people of Farnworth have sent us a message and we will be out tomorrow for the May elections.

"It's been fantastic and I've met so many wonderful, lovely people. It's been a great experience."

Ms Minors would not rule out standing in a future election. 

Cllr Sanders will be representing Farnworth ward with Labour's Cllrs Jean Gillies and Noel Spencer.

The Farnworth by-election was one of two taking place yesterday. 

Minister campaigned for votes

A new town councillor was also elected for White Horse ward on Westhoughton Town Council. The seat was won by first-timer Deirdre McGeown for the Liberal Democrats. 

The Bolton News:

SUCCESS: Cllr Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon, Cllr Deirdre McGeown and Cllr David Wilkinson

Cllr McGeown was 'delighted' to have won saying she felt 'brilliant'. 

She said: "I'm delighted for all the support I've received and I'm delighted to be working for all the people of Westhoughton. The support has been fantastic.

"I'm going to make a difference to the people of Westhoughton, it's important we get a fair deal. 

"I've never done this before and I'm hoping to bring the things that are important to me and are important to the people of Westhoughton forward."

Cllr McGeown will be representing White Horse ward with Labour town councillors Tom Robinson, Samantha Watkin and Arthur Price. 

Both by-elections were caused by the resignation of the previous incumbents and polls for the votes closed at 10pm tonight.

In Farnworth, voters were replacing Labour borough councillor Asif Ibrahim who gave up his seat in January because of time commitments.

In Westhoughton's White Horse ward, Conservative town councillor Phil Ashcroft needed replacing after he also stepped down in January, feeling his party had lost faith in him.

See the full results for both by-elections below. 

The Farnworth candidates:

David Figgins - Green Party - 18

Dave Harvey - UKIP - 169

Matthew Thomas Littler - Conservative - 153

Rebecca Jane Minors - Labour - 969

Paul David Sanders - Farnworth & Kearsley First Party - 1,204

David Andrew Walsh - Liberal Democrats - 23

Turnout - 24.32 per cent

Spoiled ballots - 7

The White Horse ward candidates:

Kate Louise Bridge - Putting Westhoughton First - 60

Martyn Cox - Conservative & Unionist Party - 557

Alan Johnson - Green Party - 11

Deirdre Janice McGeown - Liberal Democrats - 593

Anna-Marie Watters - Labour Party - 232

Turnout - 27.9 per cent

Spoiled ballots - 0