The battle to take power at the town hall could go to an unprecedent “vote off” with both major parties still deadlocked after last week’s election.

Bolton is currently without a ruling part after the local elections on Thursday, May 5, left the governing Conservative Party with 22 seats on the council and Labour with 19, neither of which is enough to command a majority.

Instead, both are now pitted against each other to forge alliances with smaller parties and independents, which could see history made as the vote goes right to the wire next week.

Cllr Sean Hornby, who leads Little Lever First, said: “It will be unprecedented in the whole history of Bolton Borough Council because we’ve never had to do this before.

“A vote off is something we’ve never needed in the past.”

Cllr Hornby explained that if the council does not have a leadership by next Wednesday then a crunch vote will begin at 10am, leaving one or the other major party in charge.

The Bolton News:

Cllr Sean Hornby

This leaves the power to forge the next leadership deal in smaller parties’ hands.

Cllr Hornby said that he was in discussion with Conservative leader Cllr Martyn Cox and Labour’s Cllr Nick Peel but had not committed his support to either.

Another smaller party that could hold the key to power at town hall is the Horwich and Blackrod Independents.

Interim leader Cllr David Grant said: “Obviously discussions are going on the background, obviously there has got to be a leader so it just depends how that goes.”

He added: “It’s one of those things were you’ve got to keep coming back until you’ve got a leadership.”

The Bolton News:

Cllr David Grant 

Cllr Grant confirmed that he had been in discussions with Labour leader Cllr Peel but that the Conservatives had not yet approached his party.

For their part, both major parties have said they will be open to discussions.

Speaking in the aftermath of the elections last Thursday Cllr Cox has said he is open to arrangements with other parties while Cllr Peel has said he is “open to discussions".

If a deal is not struck beforehand, the vote-off will begin at 10am on Thursday, May 18.