(Pictured Cllr David Greenhalgh and Cllr Martyn Cox in September 2019)

BOLTON'S ruling party has re-elected Cllr David Greenhalgh as its leader, as behind the scenes negotiations take place to keep the Conservatives in power.

Tory councillors have also voted to keep Cllr Martyn Cox as their deputy leader as they hope to lead the borough in the coming year.

A new ruling administration will be voted for and formed at the annual general meeting of Bolton Council next week.

No party has overall majority and the Conservatives took control of Bolton Council in May of last year — after 40 years ­— despite having fewer councillors than the Labour Party.

They were backed by smaller parties, including the Lib Dems, Farnworth and Kearsley First, UKIP and Horwich and Blackrod Independents, which voted for Cllr Greenhalgh to become leader Bolton Council.

Cllr Greenhalgh said: "Cllr Cox and myself are delighted to have been re-elected as leader and deputy leader of the Bolton Conservative Group and appreciate the support of our colleagues.

"We are now working with colleagues in the other parties to reach an agreement on a new administration. Talks are ongoing, with the new administration being decided upon at the annual general meeting of the council.

"Our hope is to make a new administration with a clear set of priorities and principles, and to renew and refresh the 25 point plan agreement, particularly in light of covid-19. This document will be made public so residents are fully aware of our commitments.

"Parties came together to bring about lasting change, and to create a more open and transparent way of working, and we reaffirm that pledge.”

The 25-point agreement was signed by all parties at the council except for Labour, last May

The agreement included more than £10m investment into roads, a renewed commitment to support the most vulnerable and looking at devolving more power to town councils.

Cllr Cox said: "The agreement was a two year plan, and some of the work has been done and some is ongoing."

The deputy leader said all councillors, across all parties, had pulled together in the current coronavirus pandemic.

"There has been really good cross party working. Cllr Greenhalgh and I really appreciate their help and co-operation to put Bolton first, and the way we have worked has been a real credit to all the parties," said Cllr Cox,"There have been briefings for all party leaders and suggestions have been made, I know it can sometimes sound like a cliche but we have all pulled together."

Cllr Sean Hornby, leader of the UKIP Party in Bolton, said: "It has been a very interesting and busy year with the controlling group needing the support of the minority.

"It has felt different in the Town Hall, there has been more transparency. The process started becoming more transparent when Cllr Linda Thomas, became leader of the Labour Party, but we still thought we were still finding out things at the last minute.

"Now we feel as if we are part of the negotiation and decision making, we have an input. I welcome the fact the monies have been spent evenly across the wards, rather than was the case in just certain wards.

"Now we are in negotiation over the plan and the concerns and issues I have in my ward, such as traffic calming on Radcliffe Road are being listened to and taken seriously."

Acting leader of the Labour Group, Akhtar Zaman said: "Our party's outlook is very positive and are looking to the future.

"We are hoping with the new national leadership the Labour Party will bounce back.

"This year there was no election and a week is a long time in politics ­— but our future outlook is positive."