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Labour holds by-election seat to stop slide

LABOUR held on to a Teesside seat in a council by-election, yesterday.

The party which saw its overwhelming majority on Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council whittled away in last year's local government elections, has kept Teesville, Labour.

A by-election was forced by the death from cancer of stalwart Kath McBride, a previous mayor of the borough, who represented the community near Middlesbrough. Labour's Sheelagh Clarke won the election, 199 votes ahead of the Tories, with Liberal Democrats third.

Her triumph means Labour maintains its five-seat majority on the council.

Ms Clarke won 736 votes, David Tabner polled 537 votes for the Tories, Vera Butler, 509 for the Liberal Democrats, and John Taylor, 36 for the Socialist Labour party.

The state of the political parties on the council is: Labour 32, Conservative, 14, Liberal Democrat 11, East Cleveland Independent, two.

Labour councillor David Walsh, leader of the council, said: "Despite the national gloom and doom stories being peddled about Labour in the tabloid press, results like this one show that Labour at the grass roots is very much alive and kicking.

"The results demonstrate that local people are appreciative of council services provided by a Labour authority, responsive to community needs.''

He said a lot of credit had to go to their candidate Sheelagh.

"I know she will make an excellent councillor. She is dedicated and hard working and I know that the issues and concerns she picked up on the doorstep will be her first and important priority in the years to come,'' he said.

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