A former senior UKIP figure has been elected to a Norfolk council for the Conservatives with a majority of just 21 votes.

Robin Hunter-Clarke topped the poll in a by-election in Breckland's Hermitage ward, which was previously held by the Liberal Democrats.

The gain bucks a gloomy national trend for the Conservatives who have suffered huge reverses elsewhere.

The ward lies between Fakenham, Swaffham and Dereham and contains the villages of Weasenham, Mileham, Tittleshall, and Colkirk.

Mr Hunter-Clarke, who was previously chief of staff for UKIP at the Welsh Assembly and the party's co-ordinator for the Vote Leave campaign, received 313. 

He won by a majority of just 21 as Ian Minto, the Liberal Democrat candidate, received 292 votes. Joe Sisto, who ran for the Labour Party, took 168 votes.

READ MORE: Live updates from the Norwich City Council and NPCC election results

Mr Hunter-Clarke stood in the Dereham Withburga ward at the 2023 elections and came in third place. He has previously made two unsuccessful bids to be elected to parliament. 

The by-election was announced after the retirement of Mitchell Thurbon, a Lib Dem councillor who won the rural ward by a small majority in 2023.

Only 34pc of people living in Hermitage ward turned out to vote in the election, with eight ballots thrown out due to being incorrectly marked.

Mr Hunter-Clarke will join the controlling Conservative group on the council. 

Election results are also being announced in Norwich today, where a third of seats were up for grabs, and in South Norfolk, where there was another by-election.

Voters also took to the polls yesterday to elect Norfolk's Police and Crime Commissioner.