CONSERVATIVE Georgina Phillips has won the West Leigh by-election tonight.

Southend’s newest councillor took 743 votes, beating Lib Dem Chris Bailey into second place by just 55 votes.

Ukip’s Tino Callaghan, who was predicted could split the Conservative vote, came third with 418 and Jane Norman, of Labour, got 149.

An impressive 26.22 per cent of the electorate braved hail to vote in the by-election, which was called after ill health forced former Southend mayor Gwen Horrigan to stand down.

Mrs Phillips, who lives on the Marine Parade estate in West Leigh, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that residents have selected me to represent them.

“Perseverance and a team effort helped me to victory.

“All the candidates struggled in the weather conditions today – we have had everything – and it has been a hard campaign.

“But I’ve had a terrific team behind me.”