A former councillor is aiming to retake a seat left vacant after a turbulent week at Bolton Council earlier this month.

A by-election in Kearsley has been called  after One Kearsley leader and founder Paul Heslop announced his resignation at the start of this month, prompting his two ward colleagues to move to Labour the next day.

Now Tracey Wilkinson, of Farnworth and Kearsley First, who represented Kearsley from 2021 up to this year’s election has announced her intention to retake the seat.

She said: "I am immensely proud of where I've grown up and live with my family.

"After serving as a councillor for two short years, I am passionate about making lasting positive change.

The Bolton News: Ms Wilkinson previously represented the ward between 2021 and 2023Ms Wilkinson previously represented the ward between 2021 and 2023 (Image: Public)

"I have been active in our community for many years with the Kearsley Scarecrow Festival, Stoneclough Stories, Kearsley in Bloom, Remembrance Parade and Christmas Light Switch.

"I will continue to fight for investment, shout out for council support and services and work hard on the issues that matter close to home."

Mr Heslop’s resignation took his colleagues and observers by surprise on October 2, clearing the way for the ensuing by-election.

Cllr Debbie Newall and Cllr Melanie Livesey’s move to Labour signalled the end of One Kearsley, set up by Mr Heslop after leaving Farnworth and Kearsley in February 2020.

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The by-election could be key to the balance of power at Bolton Council where Labour hold 28 seats, ahead of the Conservative opposition on 15, but still three seats short of a majority.

Ms Wilkinson says that the ward has been left “unsettled” by the recent moves and needs “direction and purpose.”

She said: "If residents want to see our town and villages thrive, the community work together in unity, and to have trust in the voice that represents them then they know they should vote for myself and Farnworth and Kearsley First in the by-election."

The Bolton News: Conservative candidate Malaika DeanConservative candidate Malaika Dean (Image: Public)

They have unveiled NHS worker Jackie Schofield as the third Labour candidate to replace Mr Heslop, while the Conservatives have selected Malaika Dean, daughter of Bradshaw’s Cllr Mudasir Dean and the Liberal Democrats have put forward former councillor Charles Cooper.

Conservative leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: "I think we all know that Farnworth and Kearsley First are favourites for this election but for Malaika, I think this is the third time she’s run now, and she’s getting some really good experience.

“I think she’ll have a great career in politics but we all know this is Farnworth and Kearsley First’s to lose.”

The seat will also be contested by Green Party candidate Alan Johnson, who stood in the Rumworth ward in the local elections in May this year.

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