THE Conservatives are celebrating today after retaining the Marlbrook ward on Bromsgrove District Council, and the Alvechurch division on the County Council, in last night’s (Thursday) by-elections.

Former district councillor, John Ruck, polled 284 votes in the election to the Marlbrook seat, with only a 48 vote majority separating him and second placed Labour candidate, Martin Knight.

Independent candidate Charlie Bateman polled an impressive 138 votes, while Steven Morson, UKIP’s candidate, finished fourth with 68 votes.

Liberal Democrat candidate Janet King finished fifth with 67 votes in a disappointing night for the party.

The turnout was 24 per cent of the electorate, with 811 votes cast.

There were double celebrations for the Tories as June Griffiths was victorious in the by-election for the Alvechurch county council seat.

Councillor Griffiths polled 637 votes while Labour’s candidate, Christopher Bloore, finishing second securing 189 votes.

Independent Dee Morton came third, polling 157 votes.

There was a poor turnout with just 17 per cent of the electorate voting.

Both victorious candidates thanked their supporters following the announcement of the result.

Both seats with previously occupied by Worcestershire County Council’s former leader Dr George Lord, who resigned from the councils in November following allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour made against him.