A BY-ELECTION has been called to fill the vacancy left by a councillor who died suddenly last month.

Labour councillor Darren Whitehead died in the early hours of November 13.

The by-election to fill his Hulton Ward seat will now be held on Thursday, January 18, after two requests were made to the council by registered voters.

The notice of election will be posted next Monday and the deadline for nominations will be 4pm on Tuesday, December 19.

The deadline for postal vote applications will be 5pm on Wednesday, January 3. Postal votes will be handed to Royal Mail the following day.

Hulton’s two current councillors are Labour’s Shafaqat Shaikh and Conservative Diane Parkinson, who defected from UKIP in January.

A Labour spokesman said they intend to field a candidate ‘who will put the same passion into delivering for Hulton as Darren did’.

Bolton Conservatives leader Cllr David Greenhalgh said his party would fight a ‘strong and active’ campaign.

UKIP’s Cllr Sean Hornby said his party is hopeful of winning a seat in a ward where they have had previous success. Bolton’s Liberal Democrats and Greens also intend to field candidates.