Independent Burnley councillor Neil Mottershead has joined the borough's Conservative group.

Originally elected as a Liberal Democrat he joined the now dissolved Burnley and Padiham Independent group.

Cllr Mottershead has represented Gannow ward on Burnley Council for the last 14 years.

His move takes the Conservative group up to eight councillors.

He said: “I’ve always done my best by the residents of Gannow. But being a councillor on my own is not easy.

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"Having spoken it over with a lot of people over the last few weeks I’ve decided to join a hard-working group in the council to get the best for my area.

"That’s why I’ve joined the Conservative grouping. Not only have I seen the time and effort they put in for their residents, but I feel the Conservative MP Antony Higginbotham works hard for Burnley too.

"This is about getting the best for Gannow.”

The ward is now represented by one Labour and one Conservative Councillor with the remaining independent Cllr Mark Payne not re-standing in May's local elections.

Conservative group leader Cllr Alan Hosker, who himself is under fire for supporting inflammatory comments made by MP Lee Anderson, said: “Neil is a hard-working councillor for his area and residents know that.

"He’ll make a great addition to our team as we work to put the priorities of residents first. I have no doubt about it.

"Labour are in disarray locally having virtually split in half over the past few months.

"When it comes to getting things done, it’s the Conservatives who are delivering for people across Burnley and Padiham.

"Whether that’s our MP, council group, our candidate in Gannow, Rhys Williams, or newest member Cllr Neil Mottershead.

"I’m proud of what we’re delivering for residents and am really happy Neil has joined us.”

Antony Higginbotham MP said: “In Neil we have someone who has demonstrated that he works to deliver for his area.

"And so I’m delighted to welcome him to the Conservative Party. He’ll be a great addition to our team, and I look forward to working with him.”