THE Conservatives made major gains in Hyndburn in Thursday’s elections to build on their general election triumph in December 2019.

They won five wards and lost one with former party boss Peter Britcliffe taking over the seat of his daughter Sara in St Andrew’s ward Oswaldtwistle which she has vacated as she is now the MP.

They took a second seat in the ward with a victory for Steven Smithson.

They also gained councillors in neighbouring St Oswald’s ward, Altham, Rishton, and Church.

But they lost the Barnfield ward in Accrington left vacant by the death of their former group leader Tony Dobson to Labour.

This leaves Labour still in firm control of the council but the Tories celebrating.

The party has 22 councillors with 12 Conservatives and one Independent, former Tory Patrick McGinley.

Conservative group leader Cllr Marlene Haworth said: “We are absolutely delighted, ecstatic.

“This is a great election for Hyndburn’s Conservatives and clear message the people of the borough are fed up with Labour rule.

“The Red wall is crumbling.”

Cllr Miles Parkinson, leader of the council’s ruling Labour group, said: “It has not been a good election for us.

“We are still on control but there have been some shocking results - especially losing in Church ward.

“The Labour Party must engage with its working class voters, listen to them and change.”

Thursday’s elections saw veteran left-wing former Euro-MP Michael Hindley seeing off Wayne Fitzharris of the new Reform UK party and former Labour councillor turned Tory Gareth Molineux in Great Harwood’s Overton ward.

Mr Britcliffe said: “I am celebrating a spectacular triumph for the Conservative Party in Hyndburn and very pleased to be back on the borough council.”

Ms Britcliffe said: “I am over the moon.

“Change is needed in Hyndburn and we will build on this result.”