A TOP regional Labour official has been arrested over allegations that he groomed a 13-year-old Bolton boy for sex.

Peter Tuffley, aged 27, of Liverpool, was arrested by detectives from the borough under the Sexual Offences Act of 2005.

The Labour Party, who would not confirm that Tuffley was the individual involved, said that an official had resigned from the party.

Police were alerted when the boy failed to return to his home in Bolton on Saturday, March 12.

Tuffley was arrested in Liverpool on Sunday, March 13 and has been bailed until Wednesday, May 4, pending further inquiries.

Meeting a child following sexual grooming is an offence which carries a maximum ten year term.

Tuffley was a rising star of the Labour party and a former aide of police minister Hazel Blears. As the party's supremo in the North-west region, he is said to have been in regular contact with a number of high-profile MPs who have constituencies in the region.

A former politics student at Liverpool University, Tuffley was said to have harboured ambitions of becoming an MP.

Labour officials were stunned as news of Tuffley's arrest swept Westminster.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "On Sunday, March 13 detectives from Bolton arrested a 27-year-old man in the Liverpool area under the Sexual Offences Act 2005 on suspicion of grooming a child for sexual purposes for alleged offences against a 13-year-old boy from the Bolton area.

"He has been bailed until May 4."

A spokesman for the Labour Party said: "We are aware of the investigation and the individual concerned has resigned from the Labour Party.

"We cannot comment further as this is an ongoing police investigation."