A district councillor who ran twice to be a Norfolk MP has announced he is stepping down from his role for personal and health reasons.

Mike Smith-Clare will leave his position as Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for Central and Northgate ward, but is to remain as the deputy leader of the Labour group at the county level.

His decision to resign follows a recent bipolar diagnosis.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group at Great Yarmouth Borough CouncilTrevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group at Great Yarmouth Borough Council (Image: Archant)

Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour Group in Great Yarmouth said: “Mike Smith-Clare has served our community over a number of years as a hard-working Labour councillor.

"Due to personal reasons, he has stepped back as a borough councillor; I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his hard work supporting residents over the years and wish him the very best for the future.

"Myself and the Labour Group remain focused on what matters most to us; delivering the best possible services for the people of Great Yarmouth. We will continue to work tirelessly in the service of residents in need of our support.”

His resignation as district councillor has triggered a by-election, which is expected to take place on Thursday, February 29.

Great Yarmouth Mercury: Great Yarmouth town hallGreat Yarmouth town hall (Image: Newsquest)

Mike Smith-Clare stood as the Labour parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth in 2017 and 2019 but was beaten by current Conservative MP Brandon Lewis.

Last month it was announced he had been appointed the new deputy leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council - a role he intends to continue.

The by-election will be an important battleground for Great Yarmouth's Tories and Labour members.

Following the May 2023 elections, the Conservatives, while remaining in control of the council, lost their overall majority, with 19 Conservative councillors, 18 from Labour and two independents elected.