A by-election is set to be held after a former party leader on Bolton Council announced his surprise resignation earlier this month.

Paul Heslop, founder and leader of One Kearsley, stepped down from the council with immediate effect at the start of October, while his colleagues Cllr Debbie Newall and Cllr Melanie Livesey both moved from the now defunct hyperlocal party to Labour the next day.

Salford Royal hospital worker Jackie Schofield has now been announced as Labour’s candidate for Mr Heslop’s vacant seat.

Ms Schofield said: “It is an honour to be selected to join the Kearsley Labour Team.

“Working at Salford Royal, representing NHS staff and supporting patients during the pandemic, I know how difficult that time was.

The Bolton News: Jackie Schofield (centre) with Cllr Melanie Livesey and Cllr Debbie NewallJackie Schofield (centre) with Cllr Melanie Livesey and Cllr Debbie Newall (Image: Bolton Labour)

“For that reason, I am particularly excited to help Debbie and Melanie with the Covid Memorial Garden project.”

Mr Heslop’s decision to step down from Bolton Council marked a major shift in the political balance of power what until then had been his ward.

From claiming all three seats, topping the poll in Mr Heslop’s case, One Kearsley effectively ceased to exist within the space of a few days in early October.

Cllr Newall and Cllr Livesey’s decision to join the ruling Labour group left the party as the sole representatives in the ward of Kearsley.

It also meant Labours total of councillors went up to 28, just three short of the 31 needed for an overall majority on Bolton Council and significantly ahead of the Conservative opposition with 16 councillors.

Cllr Newall said: “I am delighted to welcome Jackie as our candidate in the forthcoming Kearsley by-election.

“Her experience working at Salford Royal caring for patients and representing staff with wellbeing and employment issues shows her dedication to public service."

ALSO READ: Party leader and founder announces surprise resignation

ALSO READ: Hyperlocal councillors quit party to join Labour amid turbulent week at Council

ALSO READ: Second Bolton councillor resigns in the space of a day

Ms Schofield will be up against other candidates including the Liberal Democrats’ Charles Cooper.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Hayes said: “He’s been a lifelong member of first the Liberals and then the Liberal Democrats.

“It was some time ago now but he was on Bolton Council for a couple of years.”

Further candidates are expected to be announced in the coming days and will need to have been nominated by 4pm on Friday October 20.

The by-election itself will be held on Thursday November 16.