LABOUR has taken one of two seats in Castle Point in a by-election yesterday.

The two vacancies in St Mary's Ward, Benfleet, were prompted by the resignation of Tory councillors Kate and Alan Meager.

Conservative Alf Partridge took the first seat, polling 509 votes.

He said: "I am very pleased to have won but disappointed we only won one of the seats. We had forecast we would win by 250 votes because of the national situation but the BNP candidates got more than 200 votes each.

"The BNP intervention meant Labour got one of their candidates in. "But I am looking forward to tackling local issues like pedestrian crossing that are needed, vandalism and pushing for improvements to our town centre."

Labour's Brian Wilson took the second seat, polling 480 votes. Labour had no seats on the council before Mr Wilson was elected.

Mr Wilson who is facing the daunting prospect of being the only Labour councillor with good grace, said: "I will do what I can for people but I just hope people in St Mary's Ward don't expect miracles from one person. "It is going to be a challenge but I am looking forward to it."

The turnout was 24.8 per cent.

The full results are as follows:

John Barber British National Party - 253

Mark Howard Conservative - 461

John Morgan British National Party - 234

Alf Partridge Conservative - 509

Brian Wilson Labour - 480

Tony Wright Labour - 456