THE Conservatives will lead Bolton Council as smaller parties make a deal to appoint David Greenhalgh as council leader.

The 25-point agreement was signed by all parties at the council except for Labour, which is still the largest group.

It means councillors from the smaller parties will vote for Cllr Greenhalgh to become council leader on May 22.

However, these parties are not forming a coalition with the Tories despite an offer from the new ruling group.

Instead, the groups have made commitments and set out their priorities for the council.

The agreement includes £10m to fix roads, a renewed commitment to support the most vulnerable and looking at devolving more power to town councils.Cllr Greenhalgh said: “This a real opportunity to show that Bolton is not a one-party town and that other parties and voices have a say in how this town is run and operated.

“The Asons scandal severely rocked the borough’s faith in its own council and its councillors and its time to rebuild trust and confidence. We will take seriously the task in hand and work tirelessly in a collaborative way to try and solve the many challenges the town faces.”

The Liberal Democrats, with their six councillors, and UKIP, with three, focused on road repairs, openness and transparency in their negotiations.

Meanwhile, hyper-local parties in Farnworth, Kearsley, Horwich and Blackrod have assurances that investment in their towns pledged by Labour will continue.

IN FULL: The 25-point agreement which party leaders signed to put the Tories in power

Lib Dem leader Roger Hayes said: “We need to rebuild trust and a connection between voters and the council. Because I think that trust has been sadly lost in the last few years.

“I think it shows that, locally, the opposition parties have a lot in common and we can work together, irrespective of what we may think nationally. There’s a lot in common within Bolton and I’ve been very pleasantly surprised how easily everybody agreed the objectives and nearly all our objectives were included in the agreement.”

Cllr Hayes insisted that the confidence and supply agreement does not mean his party has entered a coalition with the Tories.

He said: “From the Liberal Democrats’ point of view, coalition isn’t exactly the flavour of the last three or four years and I think we’ve suffered badly because of that.

“But at the same time we’ll be making sure that the controlling group do stick to what’s good about Bolton and they do look after the disadvantaged in the town and we have full assurance that that will happen.”

All cabinet positions will be taken by Conservative councillors but Labour will be offered the opportunity to chair scrutiny committees.

Farnworth and Kearsley First’s members unanimously agreed to a Conservative-led council at a meeting last week despite group leader Paul Sanders saying he would not “prop” either side.

He said: “It’s a decision that the five groups should be proud of. It’s a positive decision. We feel as though it’s pressing the reset button at Bolton Council. For too long, it’s been too divisive and this year, the make up of the chamber reflected that we did need to take that step, move away from the norm that we had for so many years and this is that first step.”

He told The Bolton News that his party will “step back” after Cllr Greenhalgh is appointed as council leader.

The Farnworth councillor, who was the first of seven of councillors from hyper-local parties to be elected in Bolton, said that the choice was difficult.

He said: “The Bolton Labour group, in its last 18 months, stepped up to the mark in Farnworth and Kearsley, I think that’s because they had to. The political pressure from Farnworth and Kearsley First played a role in that. It was a massive change.

“With the Conservatives, of course it’s not a normal area for them to be governing. We don’t see it as them governing our two wards. It’s more of a loose partnership. It could be a closer working collaborative approach but ultimately we feel now, with this agreement, that Farnworth and Kearsley First councillors will have more control over decisions made in our wards.”

The newest party to join the council, Horwich and Blackrod First, also signed the agreement.

Group leader Marie Brady said: “There is a perception in Horwich that because we’re right on the edge of the borough, we do get over looked. So I’m really pleased that it’s been recognised that there are differences across the borough, people voted for change and that’s what we’re here to do and it looks like it’s going to be the vehicle to help us all do it.”

READ MORE: Labour concede control as Tories set to lead council for first time in 40 years

UKIP leader Sean Hornby said that Labour also accepted that changes had to be made with the administration and running of the council. He said: “The real winners at this election was not any of the main political parties it was the newly formed parties in Farnworth, Kearsley and Horwich which felt they had been taken for granted for too long despite a commitment from the council to invest in their areas.

“UKIP’s role now is to remain in opposition as a minor opposition party scrutinising the decisions of the council we have not asked for any executive positions as we believe in doing so would put us part of that administration. 

“UKIP However has been able to influence all sides during the talks in ways forward and that has to be for the good of the town.”