LABOUR’S Matthew Renyard was last night voted in to the vacant Coxford seat, increasing his party’s majority in the authority to seven.

Left vacant by the shock resignation of stalwart Keith Morrell, Cllr Renyard took the seat with 668 of the 2,543 votes.

He was closely followed by Conservative Diana Galton (529), and the Liberal Democrat’s Sam Chapman (450).

This means Labour now has 26 seats on the council, with Conservatives opposition members holding 19.

Cllr Renyard will now serve the remaining term of the seat, which ends in 2021. Other council elections will take place on May 2, in which fellow Coxford councillor Don Thomas has revealed he will step down in.

This could see the area represented by multiple parties after years of independent group Putting People First – which disbanded last year – holding all three seats.

Also in Thursday’s vote, candidate Sue Atkins from the Socialist Alternative – Putting People First group secured 368 votes, Integrity Southampton’s David Fletcher received 178, independent Ricky Lambert (referred to as Richard McQuillan on the ballot paper) received 174, Derek Humber of UKIP got 123, followed by the Green’s Cara Sandys with 53.

Of the 10,193 voters in the ward, 2,551 turned-out (25.03%). However, eight ballot papers were rejected for reasons including voting for more than one candidate.