LABOUR retained the Spring Hill seat in Accrington with a victory in the by-election called after the death of Hyndburn councillor Edith Dunston.

Winning candidate Munsif Dad beat Conservative rival Michael Szewczuk by 281 votes following a count in Scaitcliffe House, Accrington, last night.

Coun Dad recorded 528 votes, with the turn out recorded at 22.5 per cent.

The winning candidate was a Tory party member until six years ago but said Labour voters could trust him to uphold Labour values.

He said: "I saw the error in my ways. The people in my ward need Labour.

"I am looking forward to getting to know what the community wants and providing it."

He vowed to campaign for more money to be spent improving the Spring Hill area by the Conservative-run authority.

Council leader Coun Peter Britcliffe said: "In a traditional Labour ward they should have won by more votes.

"Tonight's numbers show we will be in good stead for a successful May election."

Coun Dunston, who was the Hyndburn Mayor in waiting, died at the end of July after suffering a stroke.

The 82-year-old was due to be mayor this year but, after falling ill in April with a serious chest infection, the role was handed to Dr Mohammed Rahman.

Coun Dunston was expected to be well enough to take over as Mayor this month but she took a turn for the worse.