A Somerset Council by-election will take place this spring after a local councillor announced he was “commencing a new position overseas”.

Councillor Alex Wiltshire was elected as one of two division members for Mendip South at the local elections in May 2022, which saw the Liberal Democrats take control.

Reports circulated on social media on Monday (March 25) that Mr Wiltshire had resigned from his seat, with a by-election set to take place on May 2 to coincide with the Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner elections.

Mr Wiltshire, who lives in Baltonsborough, has confirmed the reason for his departure, thanking his constituents and wishing his successor all the best.

The Mendip South division is a predominantly rural division in the former Mendip area, being bordered by the large village of Street and the market towns of Bruton, Castle Cary, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet.

The division – which includes the Glastonbury Festival site – was one of a number of traditionally Conservative areas which swung to the Lib Dems in 2022, and which the party will need to retain to continue enjoying a majority on the council.

A by-election for the neighbouring Somerton division, triggered by the sad passing of Dean Ruddle in January, is due to take place on May 28.

A spokesman for Somerset Council said: “We can confirm that Alex Wiltshire took a personal decision to resign from his role as a Somerset councillor.

“The current vacancy is not as a result of Section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972 (i.e. the six-month attendance rule).

“The notice of election will be published on Tuesday (March 26) and the statement of persons nominated will be published by Monday, April 8.”

In a statement to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Wiltshire said: “It was an honour to be elected by the residents of Mendip South to serve them on Somerset Council.”

Until the by-election is called, all casework within the Mendip South division will be handled by the other division member, Councillor Claire Sully.

Ms Sully is standing as the Lib Dems’ candidate in the Bridgwater constituency at the upcoming general election – meaning there could be a further by-election in the same division some time within the next 12 months.

She said: “As I continue my political journey, I know Alex will be someone who supports me. I love working in the area and seeing the good that can be done for people in our role.”