Behind the scenes negiogiations are taking place in the Town Hall as the Conservative and Labour parties battle to form a new administration to lead Bolton Council.

Bolton's Tory group are looking to continue to stay in power with the help of smaller parties and independent councillors - while Labour is hoping to convince councillors to back their bid to claim the town hall.

The final results left neither Labour nor Conservatives with a clear majority of representatives.

After the results that came in in the early hours of Friday morning (May 6), the Conservatives hold 23 seats, with Labour just marginally behind with 19.

The rest of the seats were shared by the smaller parties. The Liberal Democrats have five and the other 13 are made up of various independent parties.

The official announcement of which party will lead will be made at the full council meeting on  May 18.

In the run up to the meeting, discussions will take pace between the big two big parties and representatives of the minority parties to win their support.

Current leader of the council, and leader of Bolton conservative party, Cllr Martyn Cox  said: “It’s really up to them to choose who they want to see lead the council.

The Bolton News: Cllr Martyn CoxCllr Martyn Cox

“We will be talking to other councillors and trying to convince them to choose us.”

In a close-run contest, it was the Tories who had the slightly better night.

Cllr Cox said: “We retained every seat and took another off Labour and we not far off winning two other seats – Crompton and Westhoughton South.

“I can’t really complain about the results. I think we got good results and we’re looking by far the biggest conservative presence in Greater Manchester.

“We’re hoping to persuade other councillors to support us and help make us the only Conservative council in Greater Manchester.”

Labour Leader, Cllr Nick Peel said: “We set our targets on taking four seats – two from the Independents and two from the Tories. We took the two from the Independents.

The Bolton News: Cllr Nick PeelCllr Nick Peel

“I’m satisfied that we’ve broken Farnworth and Kearsley First. I think that party is a dead duck. But I’m disappointed that we didn’t make bigger inroads into the Tories.

“When you add all the figures up, Labour has the majority vote in Bolton, however the Tories have more councillors.

“I think it is likely that the Tories will get the numbers to secure a majority from the Independents and smaller parties, but we are saying to the smaller parties that this is our manifesto, if you can get on board with that then back us.”

Leader of Bolton's Lib-Dems, Cllr Roger Heyes said:"We could not support or enable a Labour administration in the current situation.

"We have been approached by the Conservative Group with a view to supporting - or at least not opposing- a Conservative administration. They believe their group of 23 can count on the support of five others, but that is still short of a majority.

"Although we played a prominent part in removing the previous tarnished Labour administration, we would have difficulty agreeing to the Conservative request because the Government they support has done great damage to Bolton, and they have been shown locally to not be trustworthy.

"We recognise that Bolton does need stability until the all-out elections due next year when the situation may become clearer.

"We have two suggestions to make; either the Conservatives or Labour do a deal with the Independents; or the Conservatives and Labour agree a joint administration for the year."