BOLTON may have lost its deciding vote over the controversial congestion charge after a dramatic U-turn by council chiefs in Manchester.

A borough-wide poll had been set to decide if Bolton Council joined the six other local authorities in Greater Manchester in favour of the charge, or the three against.

Under a two-thirds majority rule agreed by the 10 councils, Bolton's would have been the crucial deciding vote.

But the leader of Manchester Council, Sir Richard Leese, has revealed that he is now against such an arrangement.

He has reportedly said that "10 different councils making potentially ten different decisions is the road to chaos."

Sir Richard said he now favours a region-wide referendum but only if all 10 councils agree beforehand to be bound by the result.