Drawing of lots gives tied council by-election to Conservatives

A council by-election tied between Conservative and Labour was decided in favour of the Tory candidate by the drawing of lots, under a traditional procedure.

A Thurrock Council spokesman said ballot papers for each of the two candidates who jointly topped the poll were placed in a box and the returning officer extracted the one for Conservative Andrew Jefferies in a blind draw.

Mr Jefferies duly was declared councillor for Ockendon ward rather than Labour's Les Strange in the by-election which followed the resignation of an independent councillor who had previously been elected for Ukip.

Voting was: C 696 (plus one), Lab 696, Ind 531. The turnout was 25.5%.

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The Conservative win helped the party stay ahead in its gains and losses in the latest council by-elections.

Including the Thurrock result, Tories took three seats from independents (one previously Conservative) but lost one to Labour and one to Liberal Democrats.

Meanwhile, north of the border, the SNP gained a seat from Labour.

The second Conservative victory came at Chiltern District Council in a contest in Ridgeway ward following the death of an independent councillor.

Voting was: C 268, Lab 230, LD 203. Turnout 37.1%.

Tories also won a seat at Cheshire East (Bunbury) in a poll caused by the resignation of an independent councillor previously elected as Conservative.

Voting was: C 663, LD 342, Lab 178. Green 60. Turnout 33.4%.

The Tory defeat at Labour's hands was at Staffordshire Moorlands (Leek West ward) in a by-election following the death of a Conservative councillor.

Voting was: Lab 487, C 370, LD 218, Ind 61. Turnout 30.9%.

The Lib Dem gain from Conservatives came at Aylesbury Vale (Central & Walton) in a poll prompted by the resignation of a Tory councillor.

Voting was: LD 551, C 425, Lab 267, Green 61, Ind 44. Turnout 27.9%.

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Labour held a seat at Bassetlaw (Worksop South East) but lost a seat to the SNP at Midlothian in a by-election in Penicuik ward following the death of Labour councillor and provost Adam Montgomery.

Scottish Nationalists were reported to have topped the first-preference vote in the poll using the single transferable vote (STV) system.

Voting figures were not immediately available. The turnout was 42.9%.

The council's composition is now: SNP 7, Lab 6, C 5.