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At election time Bolton is where it's at. Party leaders make their traditional pilgrimage to the Lancastrian town that holds the future of the nation in its hands. Disappointingly the Council has a minority Labour administration with 27 seats to them and 23 for us. But a third of the seats are up for election on May 6 offering a chance to overtake. The Labour Party have done a rotten job running the Council as I have already detailed here.

So far as the General Election is concerned Bolton South East is reckoned safe for Labour so attention will ffocus on the other two Labour seats Bolton West (target 86) and Bolton North East (target 94.)

For Bolton West (which includes the Atherton Ward from Wigan Council) there are seven relevant wards which, when last contested, went three for the Conservatives, three for the Lib Dems and one for an Independent. However at the last General Election the Lib Dems were a distant third place. Ruth Kelly has been the Labour MP but is standing down.

Our candidate Susan Williams was highly effective as leader of Trafford Council and so could make an important contribution to a Conservative Government. Could this be a seat where Labour get back in as those disaffected with the Party switch to the Lib Dems rather than us? Susan has been adopting a love bombing approach urging Lib Dems to "lend" her their vote as "a progressive alliance to get rid of this failed Labour Government" an alliance based on "shared aims of personal freedom."

She has also highlighted education including the Conservative policy to give heads more power to expel pupils for bullying and disruption. In Bolton last year not a single pupil was expelled from a state school.

For Bolton North East there are seven relevant wards which, when last contested in 2008, saw four won by the Conservatives and three by Labour. So that looks like a more straightforward fight for our local candidate Deborah Dunleavy. Good luck to her.

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