The Tories have claimed an ‘incredible’ day at the polls after making inroads at the Hyndburn council elections.
Ken Moss was the big election casualty as the Conservatives picked up four of the 11 seats on offer, including two gains.
Labour’s long-standing portfolio holder for education, leisure and arts was ousted from Rishton by Tory candidate Michael Miller.
Following the result he said the defeat was ‘not unexpected’.
He said: “Rishton is a minority seat. I have upset a lot of people by being very direct on contentious issues and that doesn’t always sit well with people.”
The Tories’ other gain saw Marlene Haworth, who lost her St Oswald’s seat at the 2016 election, return to the council chamber with a knife-edge 17-vote win over Labour challenger Gayle Knight in a seat previously held by the late Paul Thompson.
Conservative group leader Coun Tony Dobson said he was ‘absolutely ecstatic’ with the results.
He told the Observer: “My original plan was that if we could hold the two seats we had up for re-election then that would be a good day’s work.
“But to then have two gains is incredible.”
Labour went into this year’s local elections defending seven seats and ended the day as they were, after the reverse in Rishton was counterbalanced by the unseating of Independent candidate and former UKIP councillor Malcolm Pritchard in Milnshaw.
They also comfortably defended seats in Clayton-le-Moors, Huncoat, Peel, Spring Hill and Netherton while there was a nail-biting 20-vote win in Overton.
Labour council leader Miles Parkinson said the Hyndburn results are a reflection of national trends.
He said: “It was pleasing to pick up the seat in Milnshaw.
“We are very disappointed to lose Ken. He’s been a very hard-working cabinet member.
“Nationally it’s shown us that the main parties are neck and neck. That’s what’s happened here.
“In terms of seats we have stayed the same and maintained 26.”
Former Mayoress Sara Britcliffe successfully held the Oswaldtwistle St Andrew’s seat for the Conservatives and will replace her father Peter Britcliffe, who ends a run of 34 years on the council.
None of the five Independent candidates were able to win a seat.
Following today’s results Labour now holds 26 seats on the council to the Conservatives’ nine.
Two-thirds of Hyndburn’s electorate stayed away from polling booths, with overall turnout at 33.3 per cent.
Amanda Prince (Con) - 361
Nick Collingridge (Ind) - 255
TIM O’KANE (LAB) - 463
Aqeel Afzal (Con) - 156
Nick Whittaker (Ind) - 316
DAVID PARKINS (LAB) - 879
JOSH ALLEN (CON) - 746
Shahed Mahmood (Lab) - 426
Robyn Bradshaw (Con) - 222
Malcolm Pritchard (Ind) - 368
ANDREW CLEGG (Lab) - 650
Liz McGinley (Con) - 425
BERNADETTE PARKINSON (LAB) - 780
Patrick McGinley (Con) - 819
Joan West (Green) - 140
JENNY MOLINEUX (LAB) - 839
Jean Hurn (Con) - 119
John Baron (Ind) - 137
JOYCE PLUMMER (LAB) - 580
MICHAEL MILLER (CON) - 744
Ken Moss (Lab) - 674
Jake Allen (Con) - 155
DIANE FIELDING (LAB) - 770
SARA BRITCLIFFE (CON) - 647
Christopher Knight (Lab) - 613
St Oswald’s (vacant seat previously held by late Paul Thompson):
MARLENE HAWORTH (CON) - 831
Paul Brown (Ind) - 155
Gayle Knight (Lab) - 814