What a nailbiter!

RICHARD Marshall made a long-awaited return to front line politics when he won the Luddenden Foot seat for the Conservatives, by just two votes.

And he immediately promised to give his annual 10,000 allowance as a Calderdale councillor to Mytholmroyd Community Centre, which he helped to set up in a chicken shed in the 1970s.

Councillor Marshall, who is a former Mayor of Hebden Royd, has stood for election 10 times since joining the former Hebden Royd Urban Council in 1967.

He represented the old Hebden Bridge ward on Calderdale Council from 1975 until 1983 when he stood down due to pressure of work.

Showing that he has lost none of his determination and enthusiasm he said: "The Conservative group must start thinking about the public.

l Former Mayor of Todmorden David O'Neill kept the Calder ward seat for the Liberal Democrats with a slender majority of only 77 votes and his seat on Todmorden Town Council.

Councillor O'Neill replaces long-serving Liberal Democrat Michael Taylor, who stood down this year.

l Spice was added to a four-cornered contest in Park ward by the absence of a Tory candidate and the presence of Respect – the anti-war party – and a representative of the English Democrats.

Sitting Labour councillor Arshad Mahmood, who has represented the ward since it was created out of the old St John's ward in 2004, held on comfortably in a ward where three candidates received more than 1,000 votes each.

Paul Rogan (English Democrat, Rastrick) said that while none of his five candidates had won a seat this year, the party was up and running and a credible alternative for the voters.

Craig Whittaker, who kept the Rastrick seat for the Conservatives, said he would continue his campaign activities having been chosen as the prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley, at the next General Election.