A Labour councillor has said he is "ready to fight for public services" after winning a by-election in a coastal town.

James Dwyer-McCluskey, who will now represent Central and Northgate ward at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, gained more than 52pc of the votes cast at the election held on Thursday.

It follows his predecessor, Labour councillor Mike Smith-Clare, being forced out of his post after failing to attend six months of meetings due to health and personal reasons.

Eastern Daily Press: Great Yarmouth's town hall from across the riverGreat Yarmouth's town hall from across the river (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Dwyer-McCluskey, a local father and rugby player, said: “I would like to thank the people of Central and Northgate for putting their trust in me.

“Whether you voted for me or not, I will continue to be your voice on the issues that matter to you and your family, building on the work of your previous Labour councillor, Mike Smith-Claire.

“The hard work begins now, and I’m ready to fight for the public services that residents across Central and Northgate deserve.”

Mr Dwyer-McCluskey won 482 votes (52.56pc), while his challengers, Conservative candidate Paul Charles Hammond won 296 votes (32.28pc) and Liberal Democrat candidate Tony Harris gained 139 votes (15.16pc).

It means the Conservative-controlled GYBC continues to have no overall majority.

Earlier this month, Mr Smith-Clare, who remains deputy leader of the Labour group at the county council, announced he was leaving his position at Town Hall following a recent bipolar diagnosis.

Mr Smith-Clare, who served as the representative for the town’s Central and Northgate ward for several years, was automatically removed for failing to attend a meeting in six months.

The political make-up of Great Yarmouth Borough Council is now 19 Conservative councillors to Labour's 18 and two Independents.