Election race for MP's old council seat

Leigh MP Jo Platt
Leigh MP Jo Platt

The race for the vacant Wigan Council chamber seat formerly held by Leigh MP Jo Platt is under way.

Five parties have announced candidates for the Astley Mosley Common by-election, with voters heading to the polls on October 19.

First-time candidate Paula Wakefield will seek to retain Ms Platt’s seat for Labour but will face opposition from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Ukip.

Astley resident Mrs Wakefield said she first became interested in politics through the contaminated blood scandal and has previously helped Labour in Ms Platt’s general election and Andy Burnham’s mayoral campaign.

The 36-year-old said: “These are some big shoes to fill but it’s a massive honour to have been selected as the Labour candidate.

“My pledges are making sure funding for our community groups and organisations is continued through The Deal, families, children and young people are supported, our older people are cared for and helped to remain independent and veterans and their families are fully supported.

“I also want to support local businesses through ensuring apprenticeships are available for young people to help grow the local economy.

“I’ve also organised community events and volunteered because I have a passion for making a difference.”

Ms Wakefield formerly ran Tyldesley IT business Digitopia with her husband Chris but is now a casework for Ms Platt’s constituency office.

The Conservatives have named John Stirzaker as their candidate, with the Astley resident saying the area has been neglected by the council.

Mr Stirzaker said: “This election is about electing a councillor to represent the people of Astley Mosley Common who speaks up on their behalf and gets the best deal for the community. I can provide that strong voice.”

Mr Stirzaker said he will campaign on defending the green belt, improving infrastructure and boosting public transport to ease traffic congestion.

Fellow Astley resident and Green Party candidate Andy Prentice is also promising to preserve the area’s open spaces and also wants to make consultations more open and transport after campaigning on the controversial Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.

Allan Hogg stands for Ukip and Stuart Thomas for the Liberal Democrats.