Conservatives win tied council by-election by drawing lots
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.
Voting was: C 696 (plus one), Lab 696, Ind 531. The turnout was 25.5%.
The Conservative win helped the party balance its gains and losses in the latest council by-elections.
Including the Thurrock result, Tories took two seats from independent and held one but lost one to Labour and one to Liberal Democrats.
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%.
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%.
Tories held a seat at Cheshire East (Bunbury), while Labour held a seat at Bassetlaw (Worksop South East).
A result was expected later from a by-election in a Labour-held seat at Midlothian (Penicuik ward), where the turnout was 42.9%.