A LIBERAL Democrat councillor has resigned his post to pursue an opportunity in France.

Cllr Andrew Martin, who represents Smithills on Bolton Council, has stepped down from the role three years after he was elected in 2014.

In an email to the council's chief executive Margaret Asquith, Cllr Martin said he could not turn down the opportunity due to the 'uncertainty' over the future status of British citizens following Brexit.

He said: "During my time in politics, both as a councillor and as a parliamentary candidate, I have always advocated for opportunities for young people, including those that exist currently by virtue of our membership of the European Union.

"Recently I was faced with a decision about whether or not to seize an opportunity of my own, to move to France.

"Unfortunately, with the uncertainty over the future status of British citizens, this was an opportunity I could not turn down."

The chairman of the Bolton Lib Dems Kevin Walsh described Cllr Martin, who lives in Hill Side, as an 'incredible breath of fresh air' during his time on the council and praised him for his work to make Bolton 'frack free'.

He said: "While at times he has been faced with some very difficult opposition, he has never allowed himself to be swayed from his task of representing the people of Smithills who voted to put him in the council chamber.

"Unfortunately, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has meant that opportunities for young people to learn and work abroad have been thrown up in the air.

"Cllr Martin has therefore decided to resign his seat in order to take an opportunity that he may never get again following Britain's exit from the European Union.

"I'd like to thank Cllr Martin for all his incredible hard work over the past three years. Whilst I'm sure we will see him return to local government politics as a Liberal Democrat at some point in the future, we wish him all the best in the meantime."

"We have already announced that the extremely hardworking Douglas Bagnall who lives in Smithills and edits the local Focus newsletter will be standing for Smithills in May.

"He has already taken over a large amount of case work. Any residents who are looking for guidance and support can get in touch with Doug who is more than happy to help."