A LABOUR council leader has survived an internal party challenge to his job.

Hyndburn boss Cllr Miles Parkinson defeated Clayton-le-Moors ward’s Cllr Melissa Fisher in a vote at the group's annual meeting on Monday night.

The contest followed Labour losing a net four wards to the Conservatives in Thursday’s borough elections - losing five and gaining Barnfield - but remaining in control with 22 of the 35 councillors,

A challenge to group deputy Cllr Paul Cox failed to materialise after Rishton’s Cllr Kate Walsh withdrew her nomination.

Altham ward's Cllr Parkinson, leader of the Labour group for 11 years and the council for 10, said: "I am delighted to have been confirmed as leader of Hyndburn Labour group and the borough council.

"It is always good to see that we have democratic processes at every level.

"I am also pleased to see that Melissa Fisher has the ambition to serve the Labour Party and the borough at the highest level.

"That is good for the future of Hyndburn.

"We now have to concentrate on the big challenges facing the borough coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am looking forward to doing that.

"We need to bid for government money from its levelling up fund, infrastructure and housing funds."

Cllr Fisher said: "I am obviously disappointed to lose the leadership vote but would like to thanks all those councillors who supported me.

"I wish Miles the best of luck in delivering his promise of uniting the group and ensuring Hyndburn remains under a Labour administration for many years to come."

The Hyndburn Council Conservative group re-elected St Oswald's Cllr Marlene Haworth as its leader.

It also chose two new deputy group leaders - veteran St Andrew's ward's Cllr Peter Britcliffe and Rishton's Cllr Michael Miller.

Cllr Haworth said: "I am very pleased with the result of the group meeting.

"We have a strong team and with 12 councillors can really hold the Labour group to account.

"The Conservatives will work with Labour to tackle the challenges Hyndburn faces as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am pleased Miles was re-elected. We have worked well together in the past 12 months and I hope we can continue to do so in the future."

Cllr Britcliffe, returning to the council in place of his MP daughter Sara, will shadow the resources portfolio and Cllr Miller will look after environmental issues.