THREE Labour councillors from the same ward have spilt from the party.

Councillors sitting in Crompton Ward, Martin McMulkin, Bilkis Ismail and Hanif Darvesh have quit to become independent councillors.

None of the three councillors were available for comment when contacted by The Bolton News to explain their shock departure from the group on Friday.

But newly appointed leader of the Labour Party in Bolton, Cllr Nick Peel, says although he is disappointed that the three have left the party, his focus is on rebuilding the trust of the public in the Labour group.

Cllr Peel said: “When I was elected Leader just a few weeks ago, I made it clear that I wanted to reach out to all parts of the Labour movement to come together to build a platform on which we can together go back to the people of Bolton to rebuild their trust.

"I’m disappointed that that the Crompton councillors do not want to be part of our transformation as a party here in Bolton.

"However, my offer to Bolton people remains unchanged, and I remain focused on the task on rebuilding that trust.”

One senior Labour source told The Bolton News: "We are surprised that Martin has left.

"He has only just been elected and been given a powerful role as climate change champion role and give a free reign on that and to come up with policies.

"However, the group has, overnight, become much more comfortable with the departure of Cllr Ismail."

Another senior Labour source said: "Bilkis and Hanif won't e missed, it is almost as if a cloud has been lifted from the Labour Party.

"But Martin was given a great opportunity, a portfolio was created for him which he could design, that is unheard of.

"He had a lot of promise. Cllr Peel was elected through a democratic process and these three did not even give him a chance."

The source added: "But now we have to draw a line under this and concentrate and rebuilding our party first and foremost and gaining the trust of the electorate — putting our hands up when needed and ask for the electorate to give us a chance in the future to get it right."

He said the Labour Group follow proper procedure otherwise they would be answerable to regional office.

Read more: Bolton Labour councillor Ann Cunliffe quits blaming ‘nastiness’ in party

Cllr Ann Cunliffe quit the Labour Party last month.