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Last Updated: Friday, 11 June, 2004, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Labour licks wounds after polls
The vote count at Trafford in June 2004
The Tories lost control of Trafford in 1994
The Conservatives are celebrating taking back control of Trafford Council after a 10 year absence.

They won 40 seats to Labour's 20 to take the authority from no overall control while the Liberal Democrats held onto their three seats.

Bolton's council leader of 24 years, Bob Howarth, was deposed as the Lib Dems took 21 seats.

Labour retained control in Oldham, and the British National Party failed to win any seats.

Labour still controls Bury, but the Tories took a seat from Labour.

Trafford Conservative leader Susan Fildes
Trafford used to be the jewel in the crown of the North West.
Trafford Conservative leader Susan Fildes
Across the North West, the turnout was about 40% - a significant increase on recent local elections.

In Wigan, the Community Action Party increased their total to 18 seats - up by 13 - while the Tories and Lib Dems made gains of four seats - although Labour retained control of the council.

The Lib Dems also made ground in Rochdale leaving that council and Bolton under no overall control.

They also held onto control of Stockport where Labour lost two seats - including that of its leader Tom McGee - and the Conservatives gained two seats.

Labour retained control of Tameside and Manchester, where it lost 12 seats to the Liberal Democrats.

'Disappointing' losses

Lib Dem leader Simon Ashley said: "I promised at this election that the Liberal Democrats would get more seats and more votes than ever before - and we have delivered.

"Labour are now in striking distance for the first time in thirty years, and in the next cycle of elections the aim of the Liberal Democrats is to gain control of Manchester City Council."

Trafford Conservative leader Susan Fildes said: "I think people will notice a big difference because a Conservative administration is obviously very different to a Labour one.

"Trafford used to be the jewel in the crown of the North West.

"It's now a weak council and we want to get it back to being the borough it once was."

Wigan Council leader Lord Smith of Leigh said he was disappointed with Labour's losses.

He said: "We're an excellent council and we're providing good quality service but clearly we're not getting the message across effectively enough.

"I think the Community Action Party have been a very negative campaigning party and we will have to take that on board."



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