Bolton’s opposition group has confirmed its top team ahead of a meeting that could see power change hands at town hall.

Last week’s election saw 12 new councillors elected to join the borough’s Labour group, making it the largest single party with 26 members.

The group held its annual general meeting (AGM) last Friday following Thursday’s election and leader Cllr Nick Peel says he believes they can take office soon after,

He said: “It was an amazing experience to hold out first meeting after the election with so many new faces in the room!

“I’ll be honest and say that I really did not expect to see a couple of our excellent candidates elected, such was the extent of the uphill struggle that they faced!

The Bolton News: Power could be set to change hands at town hallPower could be set to change hands at town hall (Image: Newsquest)

“But our 26 strong group, the highest it’s been for a good few years, is enthusiastic and ready to hit the ground running.

“The diversity of the group reflects well the population of our great borough in all ways, from gender to age to ethnicity to life experiences, and it is this that makes us so strong and united as an organisation that is to determined to improve the lives of local people.”

Cllr Peel himself was re-elected leader while Cllr Akhtar Zaman will take up the post of deputy leader once his term as mayor ends on May 17.

Cllr Emily Mort has become group chairperson with Cllr David Chadwick joining as chief whip while Cllr Nadeem Ayub continues as group secretary.

All positions were elected unopposed.

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Thursday’s election saw no party win an overall majority, which would have required 30 of 60 seats, but Labour finished 10 seats ahead of the Conservatives’ 16.

This means that they will need the support, or at least abstention, of smaller parties including the Liberal Democrats, the Horwich and Blackrod First Independents, One Kearsley and Farnworth and Kearsley First to lead Bolton Council.

Cllr Peel said: “Now that the bank holiday weekend has passed and we have all had a well deserved break, we will be talking with some of the smaller parties to discuss how we move forward, but I do believe that the election results show that we have a solid mandate from voters to form the next administration at the upcoming AGM.”