A FORMER town mayor has rejoined the party he left 12 years ago.

Arthur Price, who served as mayor of Westhoughton last year, has left the Labour Party to rejoin the Liberal Democrats.

He has also been announced as the Lib Dem candidate for Westhoughton North and Chew Moor at the 2020 borough elections.

Mr Price resigned from the Labour party earlier this year, citing "political differences".

The former mayor lost his seat in the May election for Westhoughton town council which now has no Labour councillors left.

He said: "The Labour Party is no longer the party I joined in 2006. What was once an open, honest and tolerant party is no longer recognisable under the current leadership – either locally or nationally.

"The Liberal Democrats, however, are showing themselves to be a real force to be reckoned with. After speaking with Cllr Eckersley-Fallon it became clear that they really are the only political party really looking to stand up for ordinary people.

"I'm looking forward to working alongside my colleagues in the Lib Dems to ensure the Conservative council leadership are held to account."

Local Lib Dem councillor Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon said it is a "real joy" that Mr Price has rejoined the party.

She said: "I've had the pleasure to work alongside Arthur on Westhoughton Town Council for nearly three years now and it really has been a pleasure. Unlike many of his former colleagues, Arthur has always been very open and approachable to anyone regardless of party.

"It really is a joy that he has rejoined the party and will be hopefully joining me on the Borough Council next year when the Liberal Democrats take their second seat here in Westhoughton North and Chew Moor."

But Labour leader Linda Thomas was "disappointed" to hear about Mr Price's departure.

She said: "Some of the criticisms that he is levelling at us now are the very ones he levelled at the Liberal party years ago when we took him under our wing."