A LIBERAL Democrat councillor for Southmead has resigned her seat due to ill health.
Councillor Jacqueline Bowles has been suffering from cancer and feels she is no longer able to serve the residents of her ward.
Dr Bowles was elected to the council in June, 2009, taking the sear from the then Labour councillor Peter Hammond.
She said: “It has been a privilege to represent the residents of Southmead on the council and I have done my best to carry out this task.
“It has been an honour to support the work of the Liberal Democrat administration over the last two years.
“ I want to thank the many, many people in Southmead and at the council who have shown me only kindness, warmth and support during my time of office.”
Her party said it was with deep regret that they announced the decision, which takes place with immediate effect.
Council leader and leader of the Liberal Democrat group Barbara Janke paid tribute to her colleague.
She said: “Jackie has been a conscientious councillor, committed to the causes and principles she believes in and the people of Southmead.
“We understand but deeply regret her decision to resign following a long period of illness and we all wish her every happiness and complete recovery in the months and years to come.”
Rival parties have also paid tribute to Dr Bowles.
Conservative chief whip Councillor John Goulandris said: “This is very sad news. We were aware of Jackie’s recent health problems and fully understand her reasons for stepping down. On behalf of the Conservative group, may I send her our very best wishes for the future.”
And for the Labour group, Mr Hammond said.”It is always sad when any councillor is forced to stand down through ill-health. Labour councillors will all join me in wishing former Cllr Bowles the very best in the future.”
The resignation means there will be a by election on a date to be set. Mr Hammond can’t fight the seat again as he has since been elected as Labour councillor for St George West.
But Labour will have high hopes of taking the seat as they lost by the narrowest of margins the last time the seat was contested.
Dr Bowles won the seat in 2009 with 828 votes, just 20 ahead of her nearest rival Mr Hammond.
The Conservatives came third with 486 votes, followed by the English Democrats with 295 and the Green Party with 160.
Labour’s Jenny Smith holds the other Southmead seat, which has been red for more than 15 years.
Whoever wins the seat should have little bearing on the running of the council, as the Lib Dems already run it with a minority administration.
Without the Southmead seat the Lib Dems are left with 32, Labour with 21, the Conservatives with 14 and the Green Party with two.