LABOUR have consolidated their control of Blackburn with Darwen Council as the party kept it in the family.

They gained one extra seat in Thursday's local elections but saw two new councillors follow in their parents' political footsteps.

Elaine Whittingham succeeded her retiring mother Maureen Bateson in the Ewood ward, and Sonia Khan won Little Harwood and Whitebirk for Labour as her father Zamir held Blackburn Central.

The party ousted Independent Yusuf Jan-Virmani in Audley and Queen's Park ward to give them 36 of the borough's 51 councillors.

The Conservatives failed to win any new wards as their vote fell dramatically in Blackburn.

Liberal Democrat hopes of making headway in Darwen failed to materialise.

Sabahat Imtiaz succeeded retiring council leader Mohammed Khan in Wensley Fold and with Sonia Khan was one of two young Asian women in their 20s to be elected for Labour.

Cllr Zamir Khan said: "I am delighted and honoured for the family that two of use are now on the council."

Cllr Sonia Khan added: "I'm overjoyed. It's great to be following in a family tradition of helping people."

Cllr Whittingham said: "I am relieved. I had to win my mother's ward after she had put in so much work for 39 years.

"They are big boots to fill but I have big feet."

Mrs Bateson, who spent four decades in the council chamber, said: "I am thrilled and a very proud mum."

But the Conservatives and Lib Dems were less successful on the family politics front.

Fajila Patel, the veiled wife of colourful taxi driver, viral video star and Audley and Queens Park councillor Altaf 'Tiger' Patel, failed to repeat his 2021 success for the Tories, losing out in Bastwell and Daisyfield.

And Lib Dem hopeful Mark Davies failed to capture his late father Roy's Darwen East ward from Labour.

One concern from Thursday's polls was the low turnout of just 30.47 per cent of voters.

Labour's deputy leader Cllr Phil Riley, widely expected to be confirmed as Cllr Khan's successor as the group's boss tonight, said: "They were very good results for us.

"They show that Blackburn with Darwen Labour Party takes elections very seriously.

"We like the opportunity of getting out to meet people and talk to them so we can turn their comments into actions.

"It is reassuring that we have two new young Asian women councillors in Cllrs Imtiaz and Sonia Khan joining the council.

"The fall in the Conservative vote was a major reason for the low turn out. It fell because people are fed up with the behaviour of Boris Johnson."

Conservative group leader Cllr John Slater said: "I was really pleased with our results in Darwen where our vote share held up well.

"They reflect the hard work of our councillors there and the town's MP Jake Berry.

"Our disappointing vote in Blackburn was a protest over national issues."

All four sitting Conservative councillors were re-elected leaving them with 13.

None of the four Lib Dems managed to win the wards they contested in Darwen, leaving Darwen East's Paul Browne their sole representative on the council.

Mr Jan Virmani, who was kicked out of the Labour Party last year and was standing as an Independent, said: "I am proud to have served my communities on the council for almost 30 years.

"The voters made their choice. I am happy with that. I can relax now."

Mohammed Khan said: "I leave the Labour group and the council in good hands.

"With the cost of living crisis and the hang-over from Covid the new leader will have a difficult task."