A COUNCILLOR who was suspended from the Liberal Democrats has said the party is in a 'bit of a mess' after one of its members resigned.

Cllr Carole Swarbrick, who represents Smithills on Bolton Council, has claimed that there is no party representation on the council after Andrew Martin resigned on Monday to pursue an opportunity in France.

The resignation leaves Cllr Roger Hayes as the only member of the Bolton Liberal Democrat group on the council, who is currently carrying out his term as Mayor of Bolton.

It comes just a few months after she was suspended from the Bolton Liberal Democrat group for 18 months because of a 'series of serious breaches of group standing orders'.

Cllr Swarbrick said: "By going early he has left the Liberal Democrats in a bit of a mess. It is not only the people of Smithills, there are two councillors now but, with Roger being mayor, there are no Lib Dem representatives on the council.

“It will affect everybody right across the town. In 2004 or 2006 we were the biggest group on the council and now I will be sitting there on the benches as a suspended Lib Dems.”

Kevin Walsh, chairman of the Bolton Lib Dems, said: "I think this is an overly dramatic reaction from a member who has been rightly suspended from the group for comparing members of the public to serial killers in a full council meeting.

"The Liberal Democrats in Bolton are currently in one of the best positions we have been in a long time. We have seen election success in both Westhoughton and Horwich where we now form the main opposition to the Labour Party on those town councils. Membership continues to increase and many policies currently being implemented by the Labour-led council were picked directly from the Liberal Democrat’s budget amendment last February.

"As Cllr Swarbrick has not been involved in the local party since her suspension, having spent much of that period defending Cllr Morris and his team from criticism, I would suggest taking any claims regarding the local party with a spoonful of salt."