Talks are set to get underway to form the next leadership of Bolton Council.

Last week’s elections saw the ruling Labour group lose two seats, going from 28 to 26, leaving them five short of an overall majority.

But this still left the group 11 seats ahead of the opposition Conservative group and Labour leader Cllr Nick Peel said he believes he can still form a workable agreement.

Cllr Peel said: “I am in discussions over the next few days with other party leaders.

“We have had 12 months in administration in Bolton and of course there is no election next year so we would like the next two years to be able to continue our projects and make the borough of Bolton and even better place to live.”

The Bolton News: The count was held last week at Bolton ArenaThe count was held last week at Bolton Arena (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “We are open to working with anyone to help make our borough a better place.”

To form an administration a party leader will need the support of at 31 councillors at town hall.

Just over a third of seats were in play at the elections last Thursday, the third time voters have gone to the polls in three years.

After a tense count that went on through the night and into the early hours of the morning it emerged that Labour had lost five seats, offset by three gains elsewhere.

The Conservatives, already the largest opposition party, ended up on 15 seats having lost the seat in Bradshaw formerly held by Mudasir Dean but gaining Astley Bridge from Labour.

The Liberal Democrats ended the night with six seats, leaving them the joint third biggest group.

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The Horwich and Blackrod First Independents finished up with all six seats across the two towns, having won all three in all three they contested.

Farnworth and Kearsley First were left with five seats, having won two of the three they were contesting.

The Greens won their first ever seat on Bolton Council when Hanif Alli topped the poll in Halliwell while independent Ayyub Chota Patel triumphed in Rumworth.

The newly elected Cllr Patel declared his victory “a win for Palestine”, which had been a running them throughout the night.