NICOLA Pontius of the Canvey Independent Party was triumphant in last night’s town council by-election, beating second-placed Tory candidate Colin Maclean by almost 100 votes.

The final result for Canvey Island East Ward saw Mrs Pontius take first place with 425 votes, followed by Tory candidate Mr Maclean with 328 votes.

Perhaps the surprise of the night was BNP candidate John Morgan, who came third with 229 votes, ahead of Labour’s John Payne, who finished last with 151 votes.

Nicola Pontius said she was delighted with the result and was looking forward to representing her constituents.

She said: “It’s all a bit of a blur this morning but I’m just looking forward to doing all I can for the residents of Canvey.”

Mrs Pontius has a strong Canvey heritage, as her father, Reg Stevens, was the Surveyor and Engineer for Canvey’s old Urban District Council.

He was in charge of evacuating the island during the great flood of 1953.

Independent Party leader Dave Blackwell said the result was a major blow for the Conservatives.

He said: “It was a terrible night for the Tories. “For two weeks they have blitzed the area, they even had the Mayor out campaigning for them.

“They all turned up to the vote expecting to win, but it just goes to show the support for the Independents on the island.”

Vera Partridge, chair of the Castle Point Conservative Association, said the BNP vote had cost the Tories victory.

She said: “We’re very disappointed, if it wasn’t for the BNP I think we would have won. “It’s surprising they got so many votes, as the issues they stand for, like immigration, have no relevance locally.

The by-election was called following the death of Canvey Independent Party councillor Christine Andrews, who died of cancer in October, aged 64.