Labour hold on to Bury Council as Conservatives and Liberal Democrats lose seats

The Labour Party has held onto Bury Council.

All 51 seats of the council were up for re-election, and both Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited the town in the run-up to the vote.

The council has been under Labour control for more than a decade, but voted for two Conservative MPs in the 2019 General Election.

However the MP for Bury South, Christian Wakeford, defected to Labour in January following what he called "a lot of build up" of issues surrounding the government and its policies.

Labour gained one councillor to give them a total of 29, while the Conservatives lost four and the Liberal Democrats lost three.

Those standing independently increased by six - including Radcliffe First who now have eight councillors.

The results mean Labour has increased its majority to seven.

Analysis from political correspondent Lise McNally

This council election was a test for both Sir Keir's Labour Party and the Prime Minister and the Conservatives.

Both Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer had the council in their sites, with both paying visits over the local election period.

It has been a Labour Council since 2011, but in 2019 they elected two Conservative MPs. Following Christian Wakeford's defection the question was how many voters he might bring with him.

For Labour it was also a big test of Keir Starmer's leadership in a heavily Jewish community, has his leadership done enough to right some of the wrongs of the Jeremy Corbyn era and win back some of the trust that was lost?

It was also possible the Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone may have caused some backlash, many there thought they were paying the price for it without getting any benefits.

For the Conservatives, they put a lot of Levelling Up money into Bury, Boris Johnson visited the football stadium they helped the town secure. But, does levelling up money mean votes?

Bury South MP's defection

Christian Wakeford, won Bury South, which had elected a Labour MP at every election since 1997, in 2019 with a majority of 402.

But, following the 'partygate' scandal engulfing 10 Downing Street, became the seventh MP to send in a letter of no confidence.

The MP said his defection to Labour took "a lot of soul searching" over many months, starting with the free school meals debacle and ending with partygate.

In his resignation letter he said: "This isn't a matter of just deciding this morning, I want to be a Labour MP, this has been many months in the build up.

"Whether it goes back to the issues over free school meals, over Dominic Cummings, over personal credit, the cost of living crisis, the Owen Paterson affair, or now patygate, there's been a lot of build up to this and a lot of soul searching that's taken many sleepless nights.

"But it is ultimately the right decision. I hope my former colleagues, certainly if they don't agree, they can certainly understand."