LABOUR leader Cllr Nick Peel has fought off the challenge to his council seat.

However it was a close call in Tonge with the Haulgh, with Cllr Peel winning by 186 votes, in spite of the Conservatives’ attempt to “throw everything but the kitchen sink” at him.

Conservative candidate Wesley McArdle polled 1,102 votes.

Cllr Peel said: “Conservatives constantly said they would take Tonge with the Haulgh, and that they were going to take me out.

“They’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink at me.

“But they haven’t succeeded.”

Despite his personal victory, Labour does not have enough seats to form a majority in Bolton Council.

The Bolton News: Summing up some of the mood Summing up some of the mood

His opponents claim that this shows that Labour has not yet won the trust or support of the majority of Bolton residents.

Cllr Peel said that Labour had to think about why it failed to retain strongholds but has insisted that with the help of smaller parties Labour can still take control of the town hall.

Overall Cllr Peel’s party was left with 19 seats, behind the Conservatives with 23.

Mr McArdle believes the performance of Conservatives will help see the party secure control in Bolton, despite his own failure to defeat Cllr Peel.

The Bolton News: Cllr Nick PeelCllr Nick Peel

Conservative leader Martyn Cox also believed that although his opposite number had previously succeeded in Tonge with the Haulgh, Labour had not won enough support across Bolton.

The results remain inconclusive with neither party gaining an overall majority.

Several parties could hold the key to who controls the council, with Liberal Democrat leader Roger Hayes expressing an interest in working with either of the bigger parties.

He said the Lib Dems would have to look at the programme for each party before making a decision.

Discussions are expected to continue in the days, or possible weeks to come.