A change has been made to Bolton Council’s top table.

Cllr Linda Thomas, who has served as both Mayor and leader of the council, is to step down from her role as cabinet member for adults, health and wellbeing.

She will be replaced by Cllr Sean Fielding, the former leader of Oldham Council who was elected to represent Breightmet last May.

Cllr Fielding said: “Linda is a titan of Bolton politics and her understanding of local government adult social care and public health policy is unmatched, not just locally but nationally too.

“Her service on the Local Government Association's Community Wellbeing Board alongside her responsibilities at Bolton Council is a testament to that.

The Bolton News: Cllr Sean Fielding has previously served as leader of Oldham CouncilCllr Sean Fielding has previously served as leader of Oldham Council (Image: Newsquest)

“While I've been involved in discussions on health policy in previous roles I've held in Local Government and Greater Manchester Politics, much of this brief is new to me and I know I'll be calling on Linda's knowledge and experience as I take on this position.”

Cllr Fielding stepped down as leader of Oldham Council after losing his Failsworth West seat to Failsworth Independent party candidate Mark Jeffery Wilkinson in the local elections of May 2021.

He returned to front line politics after a two year break when he topped the poll to be elected to represent the Breightmet ward on Bolton Council in May 2023.

Since his most recent election, Cllr Fielding had served as chair of the licensing committee until now and will be replaced in the role by Cllr David Chadwick, of Westhoughton South.

The Bolton News: Cllr Linda Thomas will be stepping down from her cabinet roleCllr Linda Thomas will be stepping down from her cabinet role (Image: Bolton Council)

Cllr Thomas had served as Mayor of Bolton from 2020 to 2022, the years in which Bolton was one of the worst hit boroughs anywhere in the country by the Covid pandemic.

After last May’s elections she took up her cabinet role overseeing public health, mental health, social care and other related matters.

Following her decision to step down for personal reasons, this role will now be taken up by Cllr Fielding.

Cllr Thomas will continue representing the Queens Park and Central ward.

Cllr Fielding said: “Not unlike other places, Bolton has public health challenges that are a legacy from the Covid pandemic, and is also grappling with providing care against a backdrop of long-promised adult social care reform not being delivered by the government.

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“This is a tough policy area to lead on but I am very much looking forward to it and will do my best for the people of Bolton.”

Bolton Council leader Cllr Nick Peel said he hoped that the authority would be able to continue with its current policies as planned.

He said: “Linda has a vast amount of experience in adult social care and health integration, and she’ll still be playing an advisory role.

“But Sean also brings a wealth of experience from his previous roles.”

Cllr Fielding is set to officially take up his role on Wednesday March 13.