Labour holds on to Wakefield Council

LABOUR last night held onto a crucial seat in a Wakefield Council by-election.

If Labour had lost the seat it would have lost overall control of the local authority for the first time since 1974. Last night's election result means it has kept its overall majority.

The by-election for the Airedale and Ferry Fryston ward followed the death of long-standing Labour councillor Graham Phelps, 61, who died last November following a short illness.

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He last defended the seat in 2008, when he had a 773 majority over the BNP candidate, Stephen Rogerson, who stood again this time.

Last night, the results, announced just after midnight, were: Les Shaw (Lab), 1330; Paul Kirby, (Lib Dem) 603; Stephen Rogerson (BNP) 353; Carl Milner (Con), 275; and Jason Smart (Ind), 102. Voter turn-out was 23.4 percent.

The make-up of the council remains: Labour 31, Conservatives 23, independents 5 (following the suspension of independent council member, Roy Bickerton) and Lib Dems 2.

The new Labour councillor, Les Shaw, 57, runs a plastics company.

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