A NEW party will be running in this year’s Bolton Council elections as it has been formally recognised by the Electoral Commission.

Horwich and Blackrod First Independents (HBFI) is now on the national register of political parties.

The party, which formed from two local community groups, received confirmation of their official party status on February 8.

Horwich town councillor Marie Brady will lead the group but there will be no party whip.

A party spokesman said: "This is a major moment in Horwich and Blackrod, for the first time in our histories there is a hyper-local independent party representing the interests of our towns which people can get behind, join and influence.

"Independent Horwich and Blackrod town councillors are committed to working together to strengthen our town councils.

"At a borough level any HBFI councillor will work with town councils to share information and use that position to ensure fair funding for our part of the borough."

The party's journey has been mired in mystery as unknown groups submitted applications to the Electoral Commission under the same name.

The Horwich First name was also trademarked by an man from Bolton and a bogus website was created.

The group is following in the footsteps of Farnworth and Kearsley First which formed at the end of 2017 and gained three seats at Bolton Council in just six months.

The spokesman added: "There are groups like ours springing up all over the country, because at a local level, councils have been dominated by councillors who place party politics ahead of local interests. That has to change and Independents are the only people who can do and are willing to do that."

HBFI will soon release details of public meetings, contact details and information about how people can get involved.