LABOUR has held on to the St Anne’s seat vacated by disgraced Sunderland councillor Lisa Smiles in a by-election which saw a turnout of 23.2 per cent.
Jacqui Gallagher was elected yesterday with 945 of the votes, with UKIP’s Aileen Casey coming second at 555.
Tory candidate and former group leader Tony Morrissey came in at 345 votes, with the Green Party’s Emily Blyth was last at 120.
In total 1,971 votes were cast, with six papers rejected, out of an electorate of 8,493.
Benefit cheat councillor Lisa Smiles left her seat at Sunderland City Council and quit the Labour Party earlier this year, months after she was convicted of conning the authority out of over £2,000.
Smiles, of Portchester Road in Pennywell, failed to declare wages and her councillor’s allowance when claiming housing benefit and council tax benefit.
She admitted receiving £2,318 in payments she was not entitled to over a period of 12 months and was fined £150 when she appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
For full story, see tomorrow’s Echo.