Labour won the Hindsford by-election on Thursday by 114 votes.
Their candidate Mark Aldred polled 1,059 votes, Liberal Democrat Neil Hogg received 945 and the Conservative Nigel Dugmore got 75 votes. The turnout was just 19.6 per cent of the electorate.
It was fourth time lucky for Mr Aldred, who has previously lost two elections in the Hindsford ward and one in Atherton.
He said: "I'm absolutely ecstatic. I was a nervous wreck but finally I've done it. Hard work and honesty at last paid off."
Mr Hogg said: "I'm quite chuffed that 945 people voted for me. It just goes to show that someone standing for the first time can generate almost as many votes as the winner. I will be back in May."
And Mr Dugmore said: "I think between the two other candidates the better man won."
He added that it was not unrealistic that the Conservatives would become the main opposition party after the next council election.
The by-election was prompted by the resignation of Graham Lingings, who won the seat for the Liberal Democrats but later defected to the Labour Party.