TAXI driver Tiger Patel led the Tory charge in Blackburn with Darwen as they shocked the ruling Labour party in two of its previously safe wards.

The popular and colourful local character, whose viral videos entertained voters, seized the formerly rock solid ward of Audley and Queen’s Park for the Tories from previous councillor Maryam Batan by 113 votes in Thursday’s local elections.

His colleague Jon Baldwin took Ewood, another Labour stronghold, defeating former councillor Ashley Whalley by 31.

There was some consolation for the ruling party as its candidate Katrina Fielding ousted veteran Liberal Democrat Roy Davies in Darwen East.

Despite the shocks, Labour comfortably kept control of the borough council as they also gained Billinge and Beardwood from the Conservatives with a win for Mohammed Irfan.

Blackburn with Darwen Council had 17 of its 51 seats up for grabs, with 26 seats needed to form a majority.

Labour were remain in control of the council, holding 35 wards plus Independent Tasleem Fazal (out of the party over allegedly anti-Semitic social media posts).

The Conservatives have 14 councillors including Darwen South victor Andrew Walker, currently suspended for Facebook comments in 2018 which appeared to show support for far-right EDL founder Tommy Robinson.

READ: Blackburn with Darwen: Election candidate under fire for Facebook posts

The Lib Dems have just Cllr Paul Browne left in Darwen East.

The new Cllr Patel, speaking outside the King George’s Hall count after his win, said: “I am honestly speechless for once. This win is for the community. They want change I always felt it.

“In the past three years we have put in a lot of work in the local neighbourhood and people have responded to that.

“I felt we had a chance. Next I just want to get to work.


Conservative leader, John Slater said: “Tiger ran a brilliant campaign and we are delighted.

“We have broken through the ceiling and people have realised they are fed up with the Labour. People are waking up.

“They can see a brighter future with our policies on weekly bin collections and stopping house building in the borough until we have the infrastructure.

“Cllr Walker will sit with our group as an Independent Conservative while he completes his training course as required by Central Office.”

READ: ‘I did not notice rude graffiti,’ says election candidate Tiger Patel

Cllr Baldwin said: “ I am proud and delighted, first and foremost.

“I am going to work hard for the residents of Ewood.

Katrina Fielding, who won for Labour in Darwen East, said: “It has been a lot of hard work. It was not easy ward to win but the hard work has paid off.”

Mr Davies said: “Of course I am disappointed. I’ve worked hard as a councillor.”

Labour group deputy leader Cllr Phil Riley said; “In the wider national context we did not do badly. We lost Audley and Queen’s Park in very strange circumstances and Ewood by just 31 votes.

“It will be up to Cllr Patel to turn some of his wilder statements into effective representation for the people of the ward.

“We will now have to look at what we can do to regain the trust of the voters of Ewood.

“I would have been more worried about losing two previously core Labour wards if we had not gained Billinge and Beardwood and Darwen East.”

Labour veteran Tony Humphrys won Blackburn South East. It was vacant after the retirement of former deputy leader Andy Kay, expelled from the party for allegedly anti-Semitic Facebook posts.


AUDLEY & QUEEN’S PARK Maryam Batan, Labour 1,096 Tiger Patel, Conservative 1,209 Turnout: 36.7%

BASTWELL & DAISYFIELD Les Cade, Conservative 344 Iftakhar Hussain, Labour 1,932 Turnout: 39%

BILLINGE & BEARDWOOD Mohammed Irfan, Labour 1,188 Ismail Ibrahim Bapu Patel, Independent 124 Rizwan Ali Shah, Conservative 884 Turnout: 36.93%

BLACKBURN CENTRAL Samim Desai, Labour 1,158 Carolyn Margaret Marrow, Conservative 383 Turnout: 25.6%

LITTLE HARWOOD & WHITEBIRK Abdul Samad Patel, Labour 1,423 Iain David Sykes, Conservative, 533 Turnout: 32.4%

BLACKBURN SOUTH & LOWER DARWEN Denise Gee, Conservative 1,140 Liz Johnson, Labour Party 487 Turnout: 28%

DARWEN WEST Janine Elizabeth Crook, Conservative 846 Diane McVee, Liberal Democrat 101 Brian Taylor, Labour 1,257 Turnout: 34.7%

DARWEN SOUTH Simon Pearce Huggill, Liberal Democrat 374 Sarah Louise Rose, Labour 509 Andrew Stuart Walker, Conservative 1,037 Turnout: 30.9%

DARWEN EAST Roy Davies, Liberal Democrat 634 Katrina Louise Fielding, Labour 678 Sue Prynn, Independent 136 Ryan John David Slater, Conservative 329 Turnout: 27.1%

EWOOD Jon Paul Baldwin, Conservative 740 Ashley Richard Whalley, Labour 709

LIVESEY WITH PLEASINGTON Michael John Jackson, Labour 585 Mark Russell, Conservative 1,616 Turnout: 35%

SHEAR BROW & CORPORATION PARK Hussain Akhtar, Labour 2,428 Aaliyah Iman Alli, Conservative 237 Turnout: 43%

WEST PENNINE John East, Liberal Democrat 437 Matthew Anthony Jackson, Labour 569 Neil Andrew Slater, Conservative 1,507 Turnout:40.7%

WENSLEY FOLD Dave Harling, Labour 1,698 Helen Voegt, Conservative 235 Turnout: 31.9%

MILL HILL & MOORGATE Julie Louise Gunn, Labour 724 Rick Moore, Conservative 612 Turnout: 24.1%

ROE LEE Martin Frank Kerry, Conservative 810 Sylvia Liddle, Labour 1,165 Turnout: 31.1%

BLACKBURN SOUTH EAST Tony Humphrys, Labour 720 Connor Michael Plumley, Liberal Democrat 108 Ann Marie Helen Tolley, Conservative 392 Turnout: 20%