THE new town mayor of Horwich has left the Labour Party just days after taking up the role.

Cllr Peter Wright, who represents Bridge Ward, was officially elected to the post on Thursday, taking over from outgoing mayor Cllr Steve Rock.

But during the meeting, the six other Labour members of Horwich Town Council decided to abstain from voting for their party colleague to become mayor.

And Cllr Wright revealed he was leaving the group to become independent, as he felt he was being mistreated by the party.

He said: "I just felt they were giving me the cold shoulder during the whole inauguration and ignoring both my sister (mayoress Alison Wright) and myself.

"And because of the behaviour last night and everything that happened, I just felt I'd rather leave the group sooner rather than later.

"I know that party politics plays a big role in Horwich, which I do not think it should do. Politics should not be part of a parish council.

"I think we should just all be concentrating on doing what we can to help Horwich. I have this great opportunity and I want to make the most of it."

Cllr Wright was nominated for the role during a town council meeting earlier this year.

But this was against the wishes of the ruling Labour group, which had decided to nominate the previous deputy mayor Cllr Joyce Kellett.

Cllr Kevin McKeon, Labour representative for Brazley Ward on the town council and Horwich North East on Bolton Council, said Cllr Wright had gone against the decision made by the group, which he said Cllr Wright had voted in favour of.

He said: "He was elected to the council on the Labour ticket and was therefore part of the Labour team on the council and we would expect all Labour members to abide by the decision made within the group.

"As a group, we voted that Joyce Kellett would be supported to by the mayor as she had been deputy mayor for a year.

"The convention is that the deputy mayor becomes the mayor the next year. So we were all rather surprised when Peter Wright was nominated and we realised that he must have had conversations with the Lib Dems and independent councillors.

"He went against the decision of the group but we didn't want to be unpleasant so instead of voting against him.

"However, we felt that we should be consistent and therefore we abstained.

"We do accept that he is the mayor and we respect his position. We attended his Civic Sunday and we will treat it with respect."

Cllr Wright's departure from the party now leaves the town council with seven Labour members, three Lib Dems and four independent members.