A FORMER council leader is back in politics after winning a by-election following the resignation of a disgraced councillor.

Dave McLuckie, the former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, stood down from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council after he was jailed for eight months for perverting the course of justice.

Today (Friday) Labour’s Dave Walsh secured a seat to represent the people of Skelton on with a 260 majority over his nearest rival UKIP’s Stuart Todd.

He said: "I was very pleased and indeed humbled to have been elected by the people of my home village. The real job now begins, firstly, to represent all the voters - whether they voted for me or not - and to try and do my best for my community and its needs."

The result of the by-election means that the Labour group have 29 seats out of the 59 available. They lost overall control of the council last month when councillors John Hannon and David Williams defected to become Independent members.

Council Leader George Dunning said: "I would like to thank the voters in Skelton for remaining faithful to the Labour Party in these difficult economic times.”

And his sentiment was echoed by Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop.

He said: ““The circumstances leading up to this election meant David had an extremely tough by-election on his hands. A lot of hard work from East Cleveland Labour Party members was required to regain the trust of the people of Skelton and hopefully this victory will act as catalyst for a fresh start for Labour in Skelton and the rest of east Cleveland.”

The by-election result was: James Carrolle (Independent) 170; Stuart Mathwin Todd (UK Independence Party UKIP) 485; Rodney Elvet David Waite (Liberal Democrats) 40; David Walsh (Labour) 745 – elected; Anne Margaret Ferguson Watts (Conservative) 176.

The turn-out was 28.3 per cent.