Labour activists have celebrated gaining a council seat from the Conservatives in a landslide victory in a by-election.

Bella Sankey won the Wish ward by-election, beating the Conservative candidate Peter Revell by more than 750 votes.

The by-election was triggered following the death of Conservative councillor Garry Peltzer Dunn in September, who had served as a council representative in Hove for 50 years.

Former Brighton and Hove councillor and Green Party candidate Ollie Sykes placed third with 190 votes, followed by Liberal Democrat candidate Stewart Stone with 96.

Former Ukip leader Patricia Mountain, who led the right-wing populist party into the last general election, was last with just 34 votes.

Full results of the Wish ward by-election

  • Bella Sankey (Labour) - 1,519
  • Peter Revell (Conservative Party) - 756
  • Ollie Sykes (Green Party) - 190
  • Stewart Stone (Liberal Democrats) - 96
  • Pat Mountain (Ukip) - 34

The result puts Labour on 16 councillors on the city council, with the Greens holding the most seats with 20, and the Conservatives on 11 - a record low since the creation of the council in 1996. There are also seven independent councillors.

Turnout in the ward was 34.2 per cent, down almost 17 per cent from the last election in 2019 which took place at the same time as elections across the city.

The Argus: Bella Sankey, right, with Labour co-leader Carmen Appich and council chief executive Geoff RawBella Sankey, right, with Labour co-leader Carmen Appich and council chief executive Geoff Raw (Image: The Argus/LDR)

Some voters faced issues in casting their ballots after reports of postal votes not arriving due to strike action by the Royal Mail.

Residents who were affected by the latest industrial action were forced to have their voting packs re-issued and had to collect them in person due to the disruption.

The victory is the second council seat gain by Labour from the Conservatives this year, after the party won the Rottingdean Coastal by-election in May by 88 votes, with the Tories pushed into third place by an independent candidate.

Ms Sankey will only serve as a councillor for a few months before hitting the campaign trail once again for the city-wide local elections in May next year.

She also announced she is quitting her role as director of refugee charity Detention Action following her election to the city council.

The charity said: "We hope you'll join us in wishing Bella all the best in her future endeavours and in supporting Detention Action as we take our work from strength to strength."

The by-election is likely to be the last test of support for the main political parties ahead of the elections in around six months' time.