Labour retain Barnsley but BNP second in by-election - VIDEO

LABOUR retained control of a major South Yorkshire heartland council after winning a by-election.

In the poll at St Helens ward in Barnsley, where the party's majority is just one seat, Roy Butterwood for Labour received 1,520 votes.

BNP candidate Lisa Brooksbank came second with 590 votes.

Labour, which held nearly all the seats in Barnsley back in 1997, would have lost overall control for the first time since the 1930s if it had lost St Helens last night.

And it would have meant Labour was only in control of Rotherham out of all the South Yorkshire councils.

The election had a 31 per cent turnout, with voters casting their choices at polling stations at Barnsley Town Hall.

A crowd of around 20 people cheered and clapped as the declaration was announced late last night.

Mr Butterwood said the result was "magnificent" and he was elated.

When asked if he thought the BNP might have won he said: "They thought there was a good chance of increasing their result and reducing the majority. I'm sure they're very disappointed with the result."

The BNP received a slightly smaller result than the 635 votes they won last year, despite having focused on estates like those in St Helens where the recession has caused a surge in unemployment. A large vote for the party in the traditional Labour stronghold helped give it an MEP in Yorkshire last June.

Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said the "tremendous" result would not make the Labour Party complacent and added that there was "a lot of hard work" to do before next year's general election.

The election result leaves Labour with 32 seats on the council. Barnsley Independent Group has the second largest with 22 councillors.

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