A COUNCILLOR who resigned from the Liberal Democrats has refused a call from his party leader to fight a by-election.

Cllr Richard Silvester, who has represented Smithills ward since he was first elected in 2004, formally resigned on Wednesday evening.

He spoke publicly about his reasons for quitting yesterday, citing concerns about his former party on a local and national level.

And he criticised Cllr Roger Hayes, leader of the Lib Dem Group in Bolton, for demanding that he gives up his seat.

Cllr Silvester said: "The call for me to resign is a bit rich, especially after the Lib Dem Party welcomed Peter Thurnham MP with open arms after he joined their party from another. I don't remember Cllr Hayes at the time calling for him to resign first."

Cllr Silvester said he "had major concerns" since the ousting of Charles Kennedy as Lib Dem leader and now believes the party is just "limping along".

He said: "Prime examples being the selection of local election candidates and parliamentary candidates, which has only just occurred.

"Therefore, locally, we are miles behind the other two major parties and are, in my opinion, a complete joke."