THE Conservatives have taken control of Bolton Council for the first time in four decades.

Lib Dems, UKIP and both hyper-local parties voted for Cllr David Greenhalgh to become council leader but deny they are in coalition with the Tories.

Labour, still the largest party, accused the other parties of breaking convention by putting a smaller party in charge.

This is the first time in Bolton's history that the party with the most seats has not been in charge, councillors were told at a meeting on Wednesday.

Cllr Akthar Zaman said: "We are in unchartered territory here, conventions have been ignored, unwritten rules have been torn up. The Bolton way has been abandoned."

Labour chief whip, Cllr Kevin McKeon told colleagues of the "catalogue of social neglect" caused by the Tory government and its impact locally.

The Horwich North East representative also warned of the hyper-local "First" parties competing with each other. He said: “Beware Farnworth and Kearsley, Horwich and Blackrod are coming for your money.”

Lib Dem leader, Cllr Roger Hayes, said there was no such convention and denied being in a Tory coalition.

Together with other group leaders, he signed a 25-point agreement setting out the council's priorities in return for installing a Conservative administration.

He insisted that the agreement will benefit the borough and urged Labour to reflect on their losses.

He said: “At some stage, you’ll take control again, I have no doubt. But you do need to learn the lessons of the last few years."

Labour tried to change the council's constitution so that the major opposition group can chose who chairs scrutiny committees.

The former ruling group said they were now the only opposition party but argued this change would benefit other parties when Labour return to power.

They also wanted to ensure backbenchers continue to have a say in the policy development process while the Tories said this should be done on a needs basis.

Cllr Peel said: "Whether by design or by accident, the Conservative amendment is a very dangerous step."

Labour were offered three out of the four scrutiny committee chairs with the other given to the Lib Dems.

Cllr Greenhalgh said the Tories have been "absolutely fair" in the way these positions were appointed.

Both Labour amendments failed as all other parties voted in line with the Conservatives.