LABOUR scored a landslide victory at the Harper Green by-election — winning 51 per cent of the vote.

Asha Ali Ismail, an agency social worker of Gilnow Gardens, Bolton, was elected as councillor for the traditionally safe Labour seat after securing 744 votes out of 1,450 cast.

She is the first African-British councillor on Bolton Council.

Conservative candidate Robert Tyler came in second with 325 votes — 22 per cent — while Peter McGeehan, standing for UKIP, took third, securing 252 votes or 17 per cent.

The Liberal Democrats crashed into last place with just 53 votes cast for Wendy Connor — a four per cent share.

Kathy Sykes, standing for the Green Party, picked up 60 votes.

The by-election was called after Labour councillor Margaret Clare, who represented the Farnworth ward on Bolton Council for more than 20 years, died in October. The turnout was 14.1 per cent.

Asha, aged 33, said she was thrilled with the result, adding: “I think people voted for me because of the hard work my fellow ward councillors have been doing and I had a great team behind me.

“I’m looking forward to working with the residents and residents' associations, getting to know the local community and what their needs are.”

David Greenhalgh, leader of the Conservative group in Bolton, said he was pleased Mr Tyler had come second.

He said: “We fought the campaign on local issues and Robert would have been fantastic for the area.

“Now we have got to the message out there that what UKIP voters are doing is shoring up the Labour hold of Bolton.

“We understand the concerns of voters, especially over matters like immigration, but a vote for UKIP at a local election is a wasted vote.”

UKIP candidate Mr McGeehan, a former Mayor of Horwich, said: “I'm absolutely delighted.

“We have come third from nowhere and it’s a credible result.”

Wendy Connor said: “It’s always been a strong Labour ward so it wasn’t unexpected.

“People have voted on national issues and I think we are not getting across nationally what we have achieved in government.”

Green candidate Kathy Sykes said that to come fourth was an unexpected triumph.

She said: “We beat the Liberals so I’m delighted.

“I’ll be back in May — I’ve got a good team.”