Leigh’s first-ever Tory MP will continue to serve as a councillor until elections

James Grundy, new MP for Leigh, celebrates with family and friends
James Grundy, new MP for Leigh, celebrates with family and friends

Leigh’s first-ever Tory MP will continue to serve as a councillor before standing down at next year’s local elections.

James Grundy ousted Labour’s Jo Platt on a night which has sent shockwaves through the party and the former mining town.

The Leigh native, who also stood for election in 2017, has represented the Lowton East ward as a Conservative councillor for 11 years.

With his council seat up for re-election in May, Mr Grundy is in no rush to vacate it in the immediate aftermath of the general election.

“I don’t think it would be fair to trigger a by-election and burden taxpayers with the costs of running a by-election, which is around £10,000,” he said.

“I will continue to serve as councillor for Lowton East until the elections in May when I will stand down.”

Lowton East is currently represented by three Tory councillors including Mr Grundy, and has been a party stronghold on Wigan council for several years.

But on Monday Mr Grundy will be swapping the town hall for the House of Commons, with work to set up a parliamentary office in the capital already underway.

“It’s become a logistical exercise now,” he added.

In his acceptance speech, the 40-year-old pledged to deliver on his campaign promises to get Brexit done and ‘fix’ Leigh.

Reflecting on last night’s shock result, he said he had been ‘cautiously optimistic’ after the exit polls predicted a neck-and-neck battle between the Tories and Labour.

“We’d come across a large amount of Labour voters who said they would consider voting for us,” said Mr Grundy.

“Then we saw boxes for Westleigh come in and it was down as a 50/50 split, where normally Labour beats us three to one.

“It still hasn’t sunk in that we managed to win.”

Mr Grundy also said that he hasn’t had time to digest the national election picture, with the Tories and prime minister Boris Johnson securing a majority.

He added: “It appears to be a historic victory where we’ve fought and picked up seats in places where we haven’t won for almost 100 years, including Leigh.

“It’s quite clear that Boris Johnson has been given a mandate to deliver Brexit.”