A COUNCILLOR has resigned and emigrated to Spain just weeks after Rossendale’s two opposing parties called for him to step down.

Tory Coun Stuart Pawson, who represented the Helmshore ward, told colleagues he was resigning from his post on Tuesday so that he could retire to Spain, where he has been spending lots of his time of since July.

Coun Pawson is now the third Tory councillor to emigrate to a European country after Michael Ormerod moved to Italy in 2007 and Coun Chris Wadsworth relocated to Brussels in 2005.

Coun Tony Swain said: “Coun Pawson resigned on Tuesday as he wants to put his retirement plans into action.

“It was understood that Coun Pawson intended to move to Spain permanently in the summer, but he feels now is the time is right for him to relocate.”

Coun Peter Evans and Coun Brian Essex will now share the workload in the Helshore ward.

Coun Swain added: “We are looking forward to finding another representative who can commit to serving the people of Helmshore.”

Liberal Democrat leader, Coun Catherine Pilling, said, “This is the only sensible resolution to what was an ongoing non-appearance of Coun Stuart Pawson.

“We acknowledge this move as a positive one by him, so that a replacement can now be elected to represent the people of Helmshore in the way they deserve.”

It is understood that the leaders of the Labour and Lib Dem parties will not call for a by-election, due to the county council elections soon to be held in June.

Coun Pawson’s resignation leaves the Conservatives with 20 councillors compared with Labour’s 11, the Liberal Democrat’s 3 and one independent.