TRAINING on child sexual exploitation could become compulsory for all councillors in a move which has cross-party support.

All taxi drivers must undergo this training as a condition of their licences and council workers are also expected to take part.

Elected members are also encouraged to complete child sexual exploitation training, especially if they sit on certain committees.

Labour councillor Madeline Murray now wants the training to be compulsory for all councillors.

In a proposal which will be discussed by full council at the town hall tonight, she said the training will assist in the fight against child sexual exploitation.

She said: "Whilst child sexual exploitation training has been carried out for elected members, it has never been mandatory and many councillors remain untrained and unaware of the issues. Council believes that elected members should set an example to the licensed trade, and the larger Bolton Family."

Executive cabinet member for children's services, Cllr Christine Wild, confirmed that the Conservatives will be voting in favour of the move to make the training mandatory.

But she said that the majority of councillors have completed the training now after she introduced training for councillors earlier this year. She said: “I think it’s important that they all understand what their responsibilities are, what that entails and who they are responsible for.”

Labour leader, Cllr Linda Thomas, paid tribute to her colleague for her work to tackle child sexual exploitation which she is "passionate" about.

She said: “All councillors are corporate parents. But when we get new councillors coming in, they perhaps don’t know about it. It’s something that we believe very strongly about and we have been asking for a while."

The move comes in the wake of the damning report on child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester which was published last week.

Victims in the region are having their cases newly investigated as a result of a review commissioned by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

But the motion to full council was submitted months earlier.

Cllr Thomas added: “We’ve got a very good child sexual exploitation unit in Bolton. It was held up by the police as a model of good practice which other authorities should look at. When the Rochdale stuff all came out we had already had stuff in place. In those days, it was a concept which perhaps people didn’t understand – the grooming issue. We acted on it many years ago."