THE Labour candidate likely to succeed the late Derek Bateman as the councillor for Ellesmere Port Town will be a woman.
Cllr Bateman, who was the opposition leader on Cheshire West and Chester Council, died of a heart attack at his home on July 30 after more than 35 years as a councillor.
Deputy Labour group leader Pat Merrick, who is acting leader, confirmed the candidate in the forthcoming by-election for Ellesmere Port Town ward will be drawn from an all female short-list.
Cllr Merrick, in her role as secretary of the CWaC Labour Local Government Committee (LGC), said: “The vacancy has been approved by the executive of the LGC and the Regional Director of Labour North West to be a woman only short list.
“As a party we aspire to greater parity of gender in our elected representatives and, whilst that remains aspirational, we are committed to achieving it whenever possible.
“We are confident that we have many suitably qualified women in Cheshire West who will be interested in applying for this vacancy caused by the untimely death of our leader, Cllr Derek Bateman.
“Notice of the vacancy has gone up across the borough but we are not expecting the by-election to take place until Thursday, October 20.”
A council spokeswoman confirmed no date had yet been set for the by-election.
Family, friends, politicians and senior council officers gathered to pay their last respects to Cllr Bateman at his funeral held at St Paul’s Church, Hooton, on August 16.
Among the congregation was his wife Jenny and his stepchildren along with politicians including Ellesmere Port MP Andrew Miller, mayor of Ellesmere Port Angela Claydon, ex-Chester MP Christine Russell and Lord Harrison of Chester.