The Conservatives have refused to confirm if they intend to contest every ward in May’s crucial Hyndburn local elections.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe has said ‘wait and see’, amid opposition claims he may look to do deals with independents to retain control of the town hall.
Mayor Malcolm Pritchard has backed the Tories in recent council votes, with the exception of a motion for a Pennine Lancashire Local Economic Partnership. The Conservatives currently have 17 councillors, Labour 14, with four Independents. But with the Tories trailing in some national opinion polls, Labour leader Miles Parkinson is hoping to turn the town red for the first time in eight years – either by gaining four seats or through the support of Independent members.
Coun Parkinson said: "The Labour group is putting out a candidate in every seat.
"There are no ‘no go’ areas for us. We have heard that the Conservative party may not be fielding candidates in certain wards. We believe the leader will be doing deals with Independents to keep power, but we are hoping to take control of the council."
Coun Britcliffe said: "We will find out when we name our candidates.
"It’s an open secret that we have worked closely with Malcolm Pritchard over the last 12 months.
"I don’t know even know whether he’s standing this time. That’s for him to worry about. The Labour leader may be worried about our candidates but I will reveal that position nearer the time.
"Whatever happens, come May we will be fighting on our excellent record. If we got a Labour-controlled council we would go back to the days of high council tax rises."