Conservative candidate John Pennington triumphed in the Bingley by-election last night winning the Tory stronghold by a substantial majority.

The businessman realised his political ambitions after a stalled attempt in May, when he came second by 250 votes in Eccleshill.

The newly-elected councillor takes the Conservative group’s tally on Bradford Council to 37, helping to make them the largest party behind Labour’s 35 seats.

He took the seat, left vacant by the resignation of Dr Colin Gill, with a majority of 1,260. Second was first-time Labour candidate Andrew Mawson. Third was Jean Taylor who stood for the Liberal Democrats in Bingley earlier this year.

Coun Pennington said: “I am very happy. It was an excellent turnout in view of the weather. To have seen a large majority is refreshing and we can maintain the good work of the Conservatives in Bingley.

“We should also thank the people of Bingley who voted and who prove that even in bad weather democracy is a good thing and can work.”

The by-election was called after Dr Gill resigned as the Council’s executive member for services to children and young people and as ward councillor in September, after having been re-elected himself in May enjoying one of the largest majorities of all councillors more than 2,500 votes.

Coun Pennington will now serve the remainder of the three year period, until May 2012.

Meanwhile, City Ward councillor Munir Ahmed has resigned from the Labour Party to join the Conservatives because he had become “increasingly disillusioned with the policy direction of the Labour Party”.

He will now sit as a member of the Conservative group on Bradford Council, and in doing so makes the Tories the largest group in City Hall.