THE new Wigan Council leader will be Cllr David Molyneux.

His new position was confirmed in a Wigan Labour party meeting last night, Monday, in which he was unanimously voted into the role.

He will replace Lord Peter Smith who was in charge for 27 years and will stay on as councillor for Leigh West, a ward he has served for 40 years.

Cllr Molyneux, who has served as deputy leader for 10 years, said: “I am incredibly proud to have been chosen as leader of Wigan Council.

“I have a big responsibility to carry on the great work that Peter has done and the huge progress that has been made under his leadership.

“I am open to listening to people- we are a team in Wigan.

"We want everyone who is elected to feel part of the team.

“If people have ideas that they think can make a difference and make Wigan borough a better place then I want to hear them.

“I want my leadership to be a listening one so we can hear all views and do what is in the best interest of the whole borough.”

Cllr Molyneux, who has represented Ince since 1982, wants to make the commitment to help the younger generation a focus in his his new role.

He added: “One of my top priorities is to give the young people of the borough the very best opportunities we can."

“This will begin from early years in our Start Well centres, through one of the very best education systems in the North West into creating good employment opportunities right here in the borough.”

Retired engineer Cllr Molyneux, 64, will continue to use The Wigan Deal to deliver services in partnership with residents and community groups.

The former cabinet member for economy and regeneration will continue as a non-exectuive director for Manchester Airport Group, Leigh Sports Village and Wigan Development Company.

He also sits on the Planning and Housing Commission.

Cllr Molyneux says the council have challenging times ahead in the coming years. 

He said: “Central government funding will end by 2020.

“Some difficult decisions will have to be made on finding alternative funding so we can carry on providing high quality council services.

"This includes providing social care for an aging population.”

Leigh East Cllr Keith Cunliffe has been appointed as the new deputy leader of the council and Cllr Molyneux will keep all existing cabinet members in the same post.

The process of finding his replacement at the town hall as cabinet member for economy and regeneration is underway.