Bolton has been left deadlocked, possibly for “days and weeks”, after Thursday’s crunch vote left neither major party with a council majority.

Following a tense count into the early hours of Friday morning the Conservatives emerged as the biggest party, with 23 councillors to Labour’s 19, but without enough seats to form a majority on Bolton Council.

Despite the stalemate, the leaders of both parties believe that they can forge the alliances needed with smaller parties to lead the borough.

Conservative leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: “All I was reading about in the papers was that this was going to be the election where Bolton was taken by the Labour Party and it hasn’t been.

“This was apparently going to be a bellwether seat that Labour was going to take, but they haven’t taken a single seat off us.”

The Bolton News:

Cllr Martyn Cox

He added: “We’re hoping to form another administration and we’re open to other parties in the coming days and weeks.”

The Conservatives won two additional seats on the night compared to Labour’s one, with each win at the expense of independents rather than each other.

Any ruling party needs at least 31 of Bolton Council’s 60 seats to form a majority, with the Tories still four ahead of Labour after last night’s poll.

Follow the link below to see how the make-up of the council compares to last year:

Made with Flourish

His Conservative colleague Cllr Adele Warren, who won in Breightmet agreed that negotiations would now have to take place but said they would have to “wait and see” before deciding on a likely outcome.

But Labour’s Cllr Nick Peel was able to point to two gains made by his party and said that he believed that he too would be able to form the alliances needed to become Bolton Council’s new leader.

The Bolton News:

Cllr Nick Peel

He said: “We’re not in the business of selling out our manifesto for change, we’re not in the business of getting into a bidding war with the Conservatives.

“We will enter into constructive talks the smaller parties in Bolton and say to them can you get on board with a Labour manifesto, a constructive manifesto, a radical manifesto?

“If you can get on board with that then we would welcome their support.”