BBC News: Election 2010 BBC News

Page last updated at 17:56 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 18:56 UK

Playing card decides Yarmouth council seat

A pack of cards was used to decide the winner in one ward at the local council elections at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

The Yarmouth North votes were counted four times with Conservative Bob Peck, who was defending his seat, and Labour's Charlie Marsden both on 1,034.

When a pack of cards was produced by acting returning officer Richard Packham, the Conservative candidate drew a three and his opponent a seven.

An extra vote was given to Labour who have now taken the seat.

Mr Packham told BBC Radio Norfolk that in such a situation, the option was to draw lots, toss a coin or cut a deck of cards.

'Lucky seven'

The winning candidate Mr Marsden said: "I got lucky seven to decide the vote that was absolutely tied.

"I think it's happened before and the choice was to cut a deck of cards or toss a coin.

"It's given the two sides 15 each and that's a fair balance on this council.

"Bob Peck is a good councillor but it's my first time. This was a really tight campaign."

There were 14 seats being contested at Great Yarmouth, one of them a by-election caused by the recent death of a councillor, with both Labour and the Conservatives defending seven seats.

The Conservatives made one gain in Caister South and lost one seat on the turn of a card, meaning the overall layout of the council remained the same with the Conservatives in overall control.

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