NEWLY-FORMED hyper-local party Radcliffe First have beaten the ruling group, taking control in a Labour stronghold at a by-election for the former council leader’s seat.

The independent party has won its second seat at Bury Council as candidate Mike Smith beat former councillor Jamie Walker, winning 41 per cent of the vote in Radcliffe West last night.

He gained 116 more votes than the Labour candidate at the by-election which was triggered when ex-council leader Rishi Shori stood down last month.

This is the first time that Labour has lost an election in Radcliffe West since the ward was created in 2004.

The historic loss leaves Labour with 28 seats, slicing the ruling group's majority in the council chamber to five.

A former paper mill worker, newly-elected councillor Mike Smith told the Bury Times that the result shows people want change.

He said: “The people of Radcliffe West showed that they wanted change and they voted for change and for that I thank them.

“I’ve never been involved in politics. Never involved in a political party, never leafleted, campaigned or particularly supported anybody. What resonated with me is what resonated with Radcliffe people – the idea of Radcliffe people for Radcliffe issues.”

This is the first time the party, which formed less than six months ago, has appeared on a ballot - but the group already had one councillor before the by-election.

Cllr James Mason stood as an independent candidate in May before the group was formally recognised by the Electoral Commission.

The group's leader and founding member is already raring to go for the next election.

He said: “The party’s less than six months old. We’ve got two councillors already. Roll on next May and we’ll go again.

“People are tired of party politics and people want change. We aim to deliver change.

“When me Carol and Judith first set up our goal was for Bury Council to take notice of Radcliffe. I think tonight we’ve shown them that.”

Labour candidate Jamie Walker, who lost his seat in Radcliffe North in May, gained 708 votes at this by-election – 36 per cent of the total.

READ MORE: 'There are no safe seats': Labour reflect on first ever defeat in stronghold

The former councillor, who lives in the Radcliffe West ward, thanked all those who helped him run a “positive campaign”.

He said: “We always knew it was going to be close. It’s still very tight. It’s actually felt really good, despite the result, it’s felt really good on the door. People are really enthused around Labour and actually they do agree with our plans.”

Deputy council leader Andrea Simpson blamed the result on national politics, saying that the independent group, Radcliffe First, has benefited from party politics being at an all-time low.

She defended Labour’s record in Radcliffe, referencing the flood defences that are now being built following the Boxing Day floods in 2015.

The Labour councillor, who holds the health and wellbeing portfolio, pledged to continue to work hard for residents as the ruling group, particularly deprived communities like Radcliffe.

But her cabinet colleague, Cllr Tamoor Tariq, admitted that the ruling group has to “rebuild” and “repair” its relationship with residents across the borough.

He said: “We will continue to engage, working with all of our councillors working across all of our communities to understand the concerns and ensure that we are in a position to deliver.

“We need to be talking to residents constantly, resonating with their views. We’ve got to understand their issues and that’s something that we have been doing, but I think we have to rebuild now as well and look at our strategy and perhaps engage with residents in a new way – that’s something we are determined to do.”