The secretary of the Alyn and Deeside Labour Party says members will choose their own candidate for February’s Assembly by-election.

A special election will be held in the New Year following the vacancy created by the death of former AM Carl Sargeant, last month.

Shelly Streeter, constituency Labour Party secretary, unequivocally declared local members would have the final say on their candidate to stand in Mr Sargeant’s former seat.

Cllr Bernie Attridge, Flintshire Council deputy leader and Mr Sargeant’s lifelong friend, tweeted on Wednesday that he would resign from the party and stand in the election as an Independent if Welsh Labour “parachuted in” a candidate not chosen by the “grassroots” of Alyn and Deeside.

Cllr Streeter, who represents the Saltney Stonebridge ward on Saltney Town Council, told the Leader the party had “three or four” potential candidates to run in February’s election.

She said: “After the shortlisting Alyn and Deeside will choose our own candidate.

“It’s going to be someone who is ‘Carl-like’ and can carry on the great work he did.

“We won’t have someone foisted on us.”

Cllr Streeter said the selection process would feature an “open shortlist” with a number of “high calibre” candidates.

She said: “Obviously whoever it is will be a backbencher but they will be able to make a difference to what happens in Alyn and Deeside.

“Carl was a fantastic minister who held many portfolios and the Bills he got through were his work, so they are big shoes to fill.

“We’ve got some fantastic members who have the potential to carry that forward.”

Cllr Andy Dunbobbin, Connah’s Quay Golftyn county councillor, sits on Labour’s Welsh executive committee and said he was doing “everything I can to make sure we get a local candidate”.

He said: “I’ve made my views known to the party.

“It’s got to be an Alyn and Deeside candidate and anyone from outside the constituency wouldn’t be seen as a positive.

“It’s imperative to our constituency and membership that it’s a local candidate.”

Mr Sargeant, 49, was found dead at his home in Englefield Avenue, Connah’s Quay, on November 7.

The married father-of-two was sacked as Welsh Government cabinet secretary for communities and children just four days earlier after allegations were made about his personal conduct.

He denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name at a Labour Party inquiry into allegations – which has since been dropped.