Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council election, 1996

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Map of the results of the 1996 Wigan council election.

Elections to Wigan council were held on Thursday, 2 May 1996, with an extra vacancy in Abram to be filled. Going into the election there were noticeably fewer candidates than usual, with the total candidate number and the five uncontested wards only narrowly lower than the all-time lows set at the 1990 election. This was mainly caused by the lack of any minor party candidates, and the Liberal Democrat slate dropping by half upon the previous election, to seven - their scarcest outing since their lowest ebb throughout their merger in 1990, but more reminiscent of their patchy participation of the seventies. Turnout had been consistently poor in recent elections, and this election continued the downward trend, dropping below a quarter of the electorate for the second time (the first being the all-time low set in 1992) to 24.2%.

Labour once again surpassed their vote share high, this time recording a zenith of over three-quarters of votes cast, but simultaneously attained their third lowest vote figure in history (1975 and 1992 being lower). The Conservatives managed to increase modestly upon their rock-bottom standing of the previous year, but on accumulated votes they failed to surpass anything other than their nadir. The Lib Dems figure reflected their seventies-style participation, with their vote share reduced to single figures for the first since 1980, and their lowest vote figure since 1978.

Following Labour's overwhelming victories scored in recent years, both the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives were looking at a wipe-out, or near that for the Lib Dems, if they couldn't vastly improve upon recent performances. The Conservatives, long confined to the ward of Swinley, failed to improve their vote meaningfully and were handily defeated, ending their 23-year representation on the council. The Lib Dems were facing a similarly arduous task, and in their former-bastion of Langtree actually suffered a swing away from them. However, they managed a sizeable swing of 14.4% in Beech Hill to hold on to their second seat in the council by a mere 34 vote majority. This left Labour with the largest majority since the council's creation of 66.[1]

Election result

Wigan Local Election Result 1996
Party Seats Gains Losses Net gain/loss Seats % Votes % Votes +/−
  Labour 24 3 0 +3 96.0 75.4 33,824 +2.6%
  Liberal Democrat 1 0 2 -2 4.0 9.8 4,408 -4.9%
  Conservative 0 0 1 -1 0.0 14.8 6,627 +4.6%

This result had the following consequences for the total number of seats on the Council after the elections:

Party Previous council New council
Labour 66 69
Liberal Democrats 4 2
Independent Labour 1 1
Conservatives 1 0
Total 72 72
Working majority  60   66 

Ward results

Abram[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour A. Bennett 1,416 90.6 -0.1
Labour E. Smethurst 1,243
Conservative A. Eccles 147 9.4 +0.1
Majority 1,096 81.2 -0.3
Turnout 1,563 16.7 -3.6
Labour hold Swing
Labour hold Swing -0.1
Ashton-Golborne[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour P. Kirkwood 1,827 79.9 +3.1
Conservative M. Winstanley 459 20.1 +5.4
Majority 1,368 59.8 -2.3
Turnout 2,286 23.4 -2.8
Labour hold Swing -1.1
Aspull-Standish[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour C. Ready 2,027 66.4 +17.4
Liberal Democrat T. Beswick 577 18.9 -23.5
Conservative J. Davies 449 14.7 +6.0
Majority 1,450 49.5 +40.9
Turnout 3,053 27.1 -4.9
Labour gain from Liberal Democrat Swing +20.4
Atherton[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour J. Clarke 1,914 85.4 N/A
Conservative R. Oxley 328 14.6 N/A
Majority 1,586 70.7 N/A
Turnout 2,242 25.1 N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Bedford-Astley[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour J. Jones 1,283 64.6 -3.7
Liberal Democrat R. Bleakley 703 35.4 +12.2
Majority 580 29.2 -15.9
Turnout 1,986 23.2 -3.7
Labour hold Swing -7.9
Beech Hill[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Democrat J. McGarty 1,445 48.8 +14.6
Labour J. Dewey 1,411 47.7 -14.2
Conservative J. Cartwright 103 3.5 -0.4
Majority 34 1.1 -26.5
Turnout 2,959 33.7 +2.1
Liberal Democrat hold Swing +14.4
Bryn[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour M. Millington 1,969 86.5 -1.0
Conservative M. Green 307 13.5 +1.0
Majority 1,662 73.0 -2.0
Turnout 2,276 23.0 -4.8
Labour hold Swing -1.0
Hindley[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour A. Robinson Unopposed N/A N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Hindley Green[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour S. Murphy 1,733 82.2 +1.2
Conservative C. Butterworth 375 17.8 +8.5
Majority 1,358 64.4 -6.8
Turnout 2,108 18.8 -1.9
Labour hold Swing -3.6
Hindsford[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour W. Smith Unopposed N/A N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Hope Carr[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour B. Jarvis 1,780 59.6 +2.5
Liberal Democrat P. Hough 649 21.7 -11.7
Conservative D. Morris 558 18.7 +9.2
Majority 1,131 37.8 +14.2
Turnout 2,987 29.9 -2.6
Labour hold Swing +7.1
Ince[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour K. Baldwin 1,643 92.6 N/A
Conservative C. Duffy 131 7.4 N/A
Majority 1,512 85.2 N/A
Turnout 1,774 22.8 N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Langtree[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour D. Brown 1,983 68.2 +5.1
Liberal Democrat J. Barrington 612 21.0 -6.7
Conservative F. Parkinson 313 10.7 +1.6
Majority 1,371 47.1 +11.9
Turnout 2,908 25.2 -3.4
Labour gain from Liberal Democrat Swing +5.9
Leigh Central[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour J. Hession Unopposed N/A N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Leigh East[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour S. Kennedy 1,733 82.6 +11.6
Conservative A. Oxley 364 17.3 +7.8
Majority 1,369 62.3 +13.6
Turnout 2,097 20.5 -5.2
Labour hold Swing +1.9
Lightshaw[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour D. Kelly 2,616 82.5 -0.8
Conservative J. Gorse 553 17.4 +0.8
Majority 2,063 65.1 -1.6
Turnout 3,169 28.5 -3.3
Labour hold Swing -0.8
Newtown[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour M. Coghlin 1,596 85.9 -4.9
Conservative W. Maddocks 152 8.2 +8.2
Liberal Democrat J. Beswick 110 5.9 -3.2
Majority 1,444 77.7 -4.0
Turnout 1,858 21.2 -1.7
Labour hold Swing -6.5
Norley[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour B. Bourne Unopposed N/A N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Orrell[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour E. Swift 1,698 71.0 -2.8
Conservative F. Rylance 694 29.0 +2.8
Majority 1,004 42.0 -5.5
Turnout 2,392 25.9 -0.8
Labour hold Swing -2.8
Swinley[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour G. Walsh 1,692 58.8 -1.0
Conservative E. Cartwright 875 30.4 +1.3
Liberal Democrat A. Robinson 312 10.8 -0.3
Majority 817 28.4 -2.3
Turnout 2,879 32.4 +2.1
Labour gain from Conservative Swing -1.1
Tyldesley East[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour A. Stephenson Unopposed N/A N/A
Labour hold Swing N/A
Whelley[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour A. Coyle 1,664 89.0 -1.9
Conservative T. Sharpe 205 11.0 +1.9
Majority 1,459 78.1 -3.8
Turnout 1,869 23.2 -2.0
Labour hold Swing -1.9
Winstanley[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour R. Winkworth 1,991 83.6 -2.8
Conservative G. Whiston 389 16.3 +2.8
Majority 1,602 67.3 -5.5
Turnout 2,380 20.0 -2.7
Labour hold Swing -2.8
Worsley Mesnes[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour W. Brogan 1,848 89.1 -1.2
Conservative A. Sutton 225 10.8 +1.2
Majority 1,623 78.3 -2.3
Turnout 2,073 21.0 -0.2
Labour hold Swing -1.2

By-elections between 1996 and 1998

Aspull Standish By-Election 13 March 1997[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour G. Davies 1,287 70.2 +3.8
Conservative 275 15.0 +0.3
Liberal Democrat 270 14.7 -4.2
Majority 1,012 55.2 +5.7
Turnout 1,832 16.0 -11.1
Labour hold Swing +1.7
Ince By-Election 26 June 1997[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour J. Hurst 685 92.1 -0.5
Conservative 59 7.9 +0.5
Majority 626 84.2 -1.0
Turnout 744 9.6 -13.2
Labour hold Swing -0.5
Hope Carr By-Election 6 November 1997[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labour C. Hale 1,045 49.7 -9.9
Green Chris Maile 636 30.2 +30.2
Conservative 321 15.3 -3.4
Liberal Democrat 102 4.8 -16.9
Majority 409 19.5 -18.3
Turnout 2,104 21.0 -8.9
Labour hold Swing -20.0

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Wigan Council results from 1973 to 2008" (PDF). wigan.gov.uk. Retrieved 2012-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b c "Local Authority Byelection Results". gwydir.demon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
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