A NEW Bolton for Change Party set up by two former Brexit Party candidates will fight May’s town hall elections.

It hopes to put up candidates in at least 14 of the 20 wards up for grabs.

The new party has been formed by former Bolton North-East Brexit Party candidate Trevor Jones and his Leigh counterpart James Melly.

They made the move because of the apparent mothballing of their original party by leader Nigel Farage following the election of a Conservative government with an increased majority and the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union last month.

The two politicians have already applied for registration as a political party with the Electoral Commission which is currently considering their proposal.

Their move follows Kearsley ward’s Brexit Party councillor Mark Cunningham defecting to the Conservatives last weekend.

Mr Jones said: “We had become politically homeless so we decided to set up a new party.

“This gives us more chance in elections than standing as Independents.

“We have had a lot of interest. There is clearly a need for a new party.

“We have had 160 phone calls from interested people and already have nine possible candidates. Three sitting councillors are thinking of joining us.

“I decided I did not want to join the Conservatives after they approached me.”

Mr Melly said: “We will be standing in at least 14 wards in the May 7 local elections.

“We may put up Parliamentary candidates in the next General Election.

“This not an extension of the Brexit Party going forward. This is about local issues in Bolton.

“Brexit has been done by this government. It’s about real change for Bolton in the future on issues like housing.”

Cllr David Greenhalgh, leader of the council’s ruling Conservative group, said: “Residents voted for change in May last year when they booted out a tired and dysfunctional Labour group who had presided over the decline of our town.

“All the other parties cam together with an agreement to move Bolton forward.

“The level of change and managing that expectation wasn’t going to be easy and it wasn’t going to happen over night and not everyone will agree with everything we do.

“In December the country voted for change electing a Prime Minister who finally got Brexit done and in turn Bolton got rid of a ‘Remain’ Labour MP in Sir David Crausby.”

Cllr Linda Thomas, leader of the Labour group said: “Is this the latest example of Brexit party politicians jumping ship after one of their councillors joined the Tories? Are they now saying their former party is surplus to requirements? I look forward to hearing what they have to say.”