Labour has retained control of a major heartland council after winning a by-election.
In the poll at St Helens ward in South Yorkshire’s Barnsley borough, where the party’s majority is just one seat, Labour’s Roy Butterwood received 1,520 votes, while the BNP candidate Lisa Brooksbank came second with 590 votes in a 31% turnout.
Labour, which held nearly all the seats in Barnsley in 1997 would have lost overall control for the first time since the 1930s if it had lost St Helens.
A gathered crowd of around 20 people cheered and clapped as the declaration was announced.
Cllr Butterwood said the result was “magnificent” and he was elated at the increased majority from last year’s 965 votes.
When asked if he thought the BNP might have won he said: “They thought there was a good chance of increasing their result and reducing the majority. I’m sure they’re very disappointed with the result.”
The BNP received a slightly smaller vote than the 635 votes they won last year, despite having focused on estates like those in St Helens where the recession has caused a surge in unemployment, and a large vote for the party in the traditional Labour stronghold helped give it an MEP in Yorkshire last June.
Results from the St Helens ward by-election
- Roy Butterwood, Labour: 1520
- Lisa Brooksbank, BNP: 590
- Daniel Clive Pickering, Barnsley Independent Group: 171
- Neil Robinson, UKIP: 94
- Clive Watkinson, Conservative: 89
- Eddie Gouthwaite, Liberal Democrat: 78