An independent councillor has insisted she won’t be standing down following pressure from Labour to contest a by-election.
Coun Pam Howard fought and won the Earlestown seat in May after being selected to stand in the ward by the local Labour branch.
However, last month she resigned the Labour whip to become independent, citing poor behaviour among some councillors and a lack of support from the group’s leadership in dealing with these issues in her role as chief whip.
Coun Howard has since told the Earlestown Labour branch that she will not be standing down to contest the seat again as an independent.
And now Peter Royle, chairman of the Newton-le-Willows Labour branch, has reiterated calls for Coun Howard to trigger a by-election in Earlestown, which he said could be held on the day of the general election on December 12.
Mr Royle said: “Councillor Howard was elected as a Labour councillor in Earlestown last May.
“This is what the public voted for, but she has decided to stand as an independent for the next three-and-a-half years.
“Coun Howard said she won’t have a by-election due to the cost.
“As we now have a general election on December 12, we believe there should be a by-election so the public with the opportunity to decide whether Coun Howard should represent Earlestown which would cost nothing.
“If Coun Howard is confident that she has the support of the public, then why won’t she have an election?
“The current circumstances are not fair and not in the public interest.”
In response, Coun Howard has insisted she does not intend to contest a by-election in Earlestown.
Coun Howard said: “I have already had communication with the Earlestown branch chair last week, stating to him that I do not intend to step down and prompt a by-election, and that remains my position.
“I will continue to work independently on behalf of Earlestown residents, given that I could not continue within a Labour group with such poor discipline.”