THE county council seat formerly held by disgraced Tory peer, Lord Hanningfield, remains true blue.

The Essex County Council by-election in Stock was held on Thursday (September 8) and saw Tory candidate, Ian Grundy, of Thornton Place, Stock, retain the seat for the Conservatives with 1,820 votes.

Mr Grundy, who is also Chelmsford Council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said he was “very proud” to win the election.

Despite Lord Hanningfield’s conviction and the publicity around the case, Mr Grundy said it had not affected his campaign.

“It’s still very much a police issue with the county council but considering the publicity, it did not come out on the doorstep very much at all and most of the other parties kept away from it which I respected.

“I think the public just want to get on now, there are some important problems to solve. He (Lord Hanningfield) has been sentenced, he’s paying his price to society so let’s get on with life.

“I want the council to be open and communicate to the maximum with residents about what’s going on, communication is very important.

“I’m looking forward to supporting many initiatives and challenging some I don’t agree with, it’s a bit of a new world but an exciting one.”

UKIP candidate, Jesse Pryke, received 736 votes, Maurice Austin (Labour) won 273, Liberal Democrat Marian Elsden gained 160 votes Dr Reza Hossain (Green Party) received 80.

The by-election was called following Lord Hanningfield’s conviction for expenses fraud.

The former leader of Essex County Council was found guilty of six counts of false accounting following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, in May, and was jailed for nine months in July.

He was accused of falsely claiming almost £14,000 for overnight stays in London when in fact, he was not in the city.