AN Independent candidate has objected to his Green opponent calling him a Conservative in a local election leaflet.

Veteran Rossendale councillor Jimmy Eaton was expelled from the Conservative Party in 2021 for standing unsuccessfully as an Independent in the Lancashire County Council elections against its official candidate Margaret Pendlebury.

He had been deselected in her favour earlier in the year as party hopeful for the Rossendale East division which he had represented for 12 years.

Cllr Eaton has since represented Greensclough ward in Bacup and Weir as an Independent and is seeking re-election on Thursday.

MORE: Every candidate standing in Thursday's elections across Lancashire

He has represented the area for 30 years.

Cllr Eaton has objected to a leaflet put out by the Green Party's candidate Alexander Vijatov, which says: "It's a simple choice between Alexander or two Conservatives.

"It's a choice between local Alexander or the Conservative candidate or the former Conservative standing as an Independent.

"The Conservatives have been so busy fighting themselves that they are now seemingly standing against themselves in this election - one as an Independent and one as a Conservative candidate."

Labour are not fielding a candidate in Greensclough, while Stuart Haughan is standing for the Conservatives.

Cllr Eaton, 72, said: "I am an Independent, not an Independent Conservative. I was expelled from the party last year.

"This leaflet is simply untrue.

"I am an individual. I have not regularly voted with the Conservatives in the council chamber.

"I voted with my conscience and have on many occasions voted against the Conservatives.

"Mr Vijatov and the Greens should withdraw this leaflet immediately."

The Green Party's only councillor, Cllr Julie Adshead, said: "The local Green Party is simply pointing out that, although Jimmy Eaton is currently standing as an Independent candidate, he has previously sat for many years as a Conservative councillor.

"There is nothing at all misleading about the statement in our election communication."

Rossendale's Conservative leader Cllr David Foxcroft said: "There is only one Conservative candidate in Greensclough Stuart Haughan.

"The fact there is no Labour candidate speaks volumes."

A Rossendale Council spokesperson said: "Cllr Jimmy Eaton reported his concerns to us last week and after speaking with both the police and the Electoral Commission we have been advised that the content of the leaflet does not constitute an election offence.

"The Green Party are allowed therefore continue to distribute the leaflets if they wish."

The candidates is Greensclough are: Jimmy Eaton (Independent), Stuart Haughan (Conservative), Alexander Vijatov (Green).

The Green Party is fielding 11 candidates in Thursday's poll compared to three in 2021.

The current balance of parties is Labour 17 councillors; Conservative 13; Independent three; Community First two; and Green one.

Polling opens at 7am on Thursday, May 5, and closes at 10pm.