UNCERTAINTY surrounds the result of the Lower Piddlehinton Parish Council by-election.

The by-election was prompted by the retirement of the member for Cherrytree Lane (but only up as far as the post office) in the Dorset village, Cpt Wilfred Flinton MBE. Both the main candidates, Sir James V Hedge (Con) and Mr Alistair Gorham (Lab), are claiming victory, but the outcome has been described as 'too close to call'.

Local party members were kept up until at least 10.15pm as ballots cast by the nine constituents were counted, but the result has so far proved to be inconclusive. A definitive result is not expected until recounts are completed, which is thought to be around the year 2018.

"This is the last time we ask the authorities in Florida to conduct the recount," sighed council leader Marjorie Daw.