Page last updated at 13:34 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

UUP takes Craigavon council seat from TUV

Jo-Anne Dobson
Jo-Anne Dobson topped the poll in the Lurgan ward

Ulster Unionist Party candidate Jo-Anne Dobson has won a seat on Craigavon Borough Council in a by-election sparked by unionist in-fighting.

Ms Dobson secured 64% of the vote in the Lurgan ward, winning 2,494 votes.

Traditional Unionist Voice's David Calvert received 752 votes, Liam Mackle of Sinn Fein got 401 votes while SDLP candidate Pat McDade got 256 votes.

The by-election came after unionist councillors failed to agree who should replace a TUV councillor who resigned.

Jo-Anne's victory represents the clearest possible evidence that the Ulster Unionist Party is back in business
Sir Reg Empey
UUP leader

Mark Russell was elected in 2005 as a DUP councillor before moving to the TUV - he stepped down in November.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists objected to each other's choices, while the Traditional Unionists failed to get their candidate seconded, a move which infuriated party leader Jim Allister.

Last August, it was announced that the TUV and DUP had agreed not to force by-elections in Craigavon or Ballymoney.

Mr Allister said the DUP "welched on its agreement not to oppose a TUV co-option by proposing their own candidate".

At a council meeting, the DUP instead backed an independent "compromise" candidate and rounded on the Ulster Unionists for not supporting him.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said Ms Dobson's election win "represents the clearest possible evidence that the Ulster Unionist Party is back in business".

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