THIS years' local elections have highlighted a mixed picture but has shown that people were not completely swayed by national issues.

Heading into the local elections there was a lot of uncertainty as to whether national issues such as the recent Partygate scandal, would determine the votes.

Even though the votes were very close, the new make-up of the council has shown that although this may have been at the heart of some of the voters, overall confidence in the Conservatives party remains, with them holding 23 seats compared to Labour holding 19.

Tonge with the Haulgh on the other hand was won by Labour Leader Nick Peel, with 1,288 votes.

And Conservative candidate Wesley McArdle said he knew it was “going to be hard, especially going up against the Labour leader”.

The Bolton News: From left to right: Mudasir Dean and Wesley McArdleFrom left to right: Mudasir Dean and Wesley McArdle

He added: “I think there will have been lots of people voting because of the national campaign, and some will be upset because of not getting seats.

“But this is a local campaign and not just one day a year, it’s 12 months a year, and it’s about what the councillors have done for the past 12 months in the wards, and it shows in the overall results.

“I couldn’t have put any more in.

“To have come so close to beating the labour leader is really good.

“But Tonge with the Haulgh really needs moving forward, so it’s important to know what is being done for the ward.

"And the Conservative party are about moving forward."

Labour previously held their seat at Tonge with the Haulgh last year, with Cllr Martin Donaghy as the winner.

But it was also another close call, with Mr McArdle coming second for the ward last year.

Throughout the night, at one point it looked likely to go in Labour’s favour, but Cllr Martyn Cox said that results were still "on an absolute knife edge" and he wasn’t ready to predict a winning party.

The Bolton News: Cllr Martyn CoxCllr Martyn Cox

Following the results however Conservative leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: "On the doorstep, listening to people Partygate never really cut through as an issue that effected people's votes.

“It was close in Horwich, it was close in Blackrod and we came close in three other seats."

Labour leader Cllr Nick Peel said: "In elections like these and particularly where the turnout is low, local issues can sway a few hundred votes.

“We've now got to go away and think about why we've not made the breakthrough that we thought we could have done."