THE Conservative Party has extended its majority on North Yorkshire County Council with the election of its candidate in one of England’s most rural wards.

Councillor Yvonne Peacock, a former leader of Richmondshire District Council, secured 884 votes to win the Upper Dales seat on the county council, which was vacated following the death of Independent councillor John Blackie.

The result was announced in the early hours of this morning at Thornborough Hall in Leyburn by the district council’s chief executive Tony Clark amid great tension as it was clear the contest for the seat between the late partner of Cllr Blackie, Jill McMullon, and Cllr Peacock had been close.

After all the papers were counted it emerged Ms McMullon had lost by just 143 votes with 741 votes.

Liberal Democrat Simon Crosby secured 204 votes and Kevin Foster of The Green Party 107 votes.

However, Ms McMullon received congratulations from many at the count after winning her late partner’s Hawes, High Abbotside and Upper Swaledale seat on the district council with 409 votes, a majority of 162 votes over Conservative candidate Pat Kirkbride, who won 231 votes, while Green candidate Margaret Lowndes received 57 votes.