THOUSANDS of voters will go to the polls in today’s local elections where Labour seek to strengthen their control of Bury Council.

Candidates are contesting 17 seats, one in each of the borough’s wards, as one-third of the council comes up for election.

The Conservatives will be defending 10 seats, Labour four and the Liberal Democrats three.

Bury Council has 51 councillors, and the current line-up is: Labour 25 seats, Conservative 19 seats, Liberal Democrats five seats, and Independent one seat. There is one vacancy in East ward, following the death of Labour councillor John Byrne in December.

There is unlikely to be a repeat of last year’s drama when Labour candidate Joanne Columbine and Conservative Robert Hodkinson drew straws for the Ramsbottom seat, after they recorded the same number of votes.

Labour’s win proved highly significant, as it gave them outright control of the council by the one seat. Labour and Conservative are contesting every seat, while the Liberal Democrats have a candidate in every ward bar East ward.

Eleven candidates have been put forward by UK Independence Party (UKIP), while the Green party and English Democrats have two candidates each.

Polling stations will be open for voting today until 10pm.

The count will be held at the Castle Leisure Centre in Bury after polls close, and all results are expected to be announced by 2am.

To keep up to date on how the evening unfolds on twitter, follow @burytimes.

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