Labour has held its Charville ward seat, in a snap bye-election caused by the resignation of one of its members.

In a vote of ultra-low turnout – just 25.7 per cent – former councillor John Oswell won the seat in the mid-borough ward that encompasses parts of Hillingdon and Hayes End by a mere 21 votes last night (Thursday, November 27).

He succeeds David Horne, who stepped down because of ill health. Three-seat Charville retains its two-to-one Labour to Tory majority.

For Conservative former Mayor of Hillingdon, Mary O’Connor, it was a second defeat within months. She was unseated in the same ward in local elections in May.

Her party had thrown a lot into getting her re-elected, with vigorous campaigning in the weeks before the poll.

Labour had also put a lot into keeping the seat, and members at the vote at Hayes Park School in Raynton Drive were visibly relieved, after a recount.

Mr Oswell, who represented Pinkwell ward for a number of years, said: “I’m really pleased with what has happened tonight because it showed that the people of Charville wanted to keep the seat Labour.”

He thanked the party team for its hard work during the campaign, and also paid tribute to the borough’s only Labour MP.

“I have had help from John McDonnell MP, and I cannot thank him enough because he has been very, very helpful,” said Mr Oswell.

“Also my wife has to have a mention because of what she has put up with over the last four weeks.

Video thumbnail, John Oswell victory speech in the Charville bye-election
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“I have got to say I thought it might be tight, and it was, but I was hopeful, always hopeful.”

Ms O’Connor was disappointed but philosophical.

“It was close enough but no comeback, and that’s life, but I suppose the one thing was that the UKIP vote fell away,” she said.

“It was a very low turnout, but what would you expect for a bye-election at the back end of November, with a general election round the corner and the local elections just over?”

Had her party done enough to try to win the seat? “I don’t think we could have done anything else,” she said.

UKIP’s vote did decline, as Ms O’Connor pointed out, but its Hillingdon chairman, Cliff Dixon, who stood in the election, said he was happy enough.

“Considering what was ranged against us, 468 is pretty creditable.

“It was a solid result, we’re established, we are the third party by quite a considerable way, as can be seen from the votes here, and we move on from here.”

The Charville bye-election results in full

John Oswell (Lab) 950

Mary O’Connor (Con) 929

Cliff Dixon (UKIP) 468

Wally Kennedy (TUSC) 40

Paul McKeown (Lib Dem) 37

Turnout was 25.77 per cent, with 2,428 ballot papers submitted, four of them invalid.