A FORMER city council leader has been elected to the unitary authority.

Bill Kellett, who was Labour leader of the now-defunct Durham City Council, was elected as a county councillor for Sherburn, near Durham City, on Thursday.

He joins Councillor David Hall in representing the division.

The vacancy was created and a by-election triggered by the resignation of Labour’s Stephen Guy, the son of the late miners’ leader David Guy. Mr Guy, who was first elected in 2010, has taken up a new job.

Councillor Kellett, who lives in Pittington and has campaigned against plans to opencast near the village, received 2,218 votes.

Conservative Michael Fishwick won 985, Liberal Democrat Andrew Tibbs was third with 531 and the Green Party’s Joanna Smith was fourth with 508. The turnout was 64.5 per cent.

In the Shotton Parish, Labour won a straight battle with the North East Party, seeing its four candidates, Craig Ball, Mary Hughes, Joyce Lovack and Stephen Maitland, elected ahead of their NEP opponents Leslie Dean, Allen Forster, Jordan Nord and Andrew Watson.