A veteran councillor and two-time local authority boss first elected as a Liberal Democrat has joined the Labour Party.

Gannow ward's Cllr Charlie Briggs - currently sitting as an independent on Burnley Council - announced his move at the weekend, as former Green Party leader Andy Fewings resigned his seat to look after his elderly parents.

The changes leave the authority on a knife edge with Labour - which has been running it as a minority administration since May's local elections - with 22 councillors and the other parties and independents also on 22.

If Labour were to win Cllr Fewings' Trinity ward in the by-election to be held on Thursday, October 26, it would take full control of Burnley Council with a majority of one.

The ward's other councillors are both Greens.

Mr Fewings has also resigned his post as Lancashire County councillor for Burnley Central West and there will be a concurrent by-election for that division.

He said: "I am heartbroken to have resigned but my elderly parents need my help and they live in South Wales so I have moved back to give them the care they need."

Cllr Briggs was leader of Burnley Council first as a Lib Dem from 2010 to 2012, before later joining the Burnley and Padiham Independent Party and taking charge of an anti-Labour 'rainbow' coalition of other groups for 15 months, until he quit in September 2020.

He has been sitting as an independent since the Burnley and Padiham Independent group disbanded earlier this year.

Cllr Briggs will also stand for Labour in the Lancashire County Council by-election for the Burnley Central West division.

The party has selected shop owner Mubashar Lone to contest Trinity ward on October 26.

Cllr Briggs said: "Labour is the only party batting for Burnley. They've done a lot for the town.

"The fight is between Labour and the Conservatives here: it's red or blue and I'm voting with my feet.

"People are fed up; prices, mortgages and rents are going up. Only Labour has solutions to the problems facing Burnley. "

Cllr Afrasiab Anwar, Burnley Council's Labour leader, said: "Charlie Briggs will be a great addition to Burnley Labour Group and I'm delighted he has joined us.

"We will be fighting these by-elections vigorously to get our first Labour councillor for Trinity and a county councillor who will deliver for residents across Whittlefield, Ightenhill, Gannow and Trinity."

Former Burnley and Padiham Independent leader, Cllr Mark Payne, said: "Cllr Briggs is an independent. He is fully entitled to do what he wants."

Lib Dem group leader Cllr Gordon Birtwistle said: "Cllr Briggs has no political principles or consistency. This proves it."