A Workington man has missed out on joining the town council after an error at the election count.

Frank Johnston, who grew up in Moorclose, stood for election in the ward last week.

Mr Johnston, 37, of Ruskin Close, High Harrington, was announced as coming last out of nine candidates in the ward, missing out on one of the six available seats.

But after questions were raised over the weekend, it was found that Mr Johnston had in fact received 690 votes – 85 more than fellow Labour party member Christine Johanssen, who was announced as winner of the sixth seat.

The Moorclose ballot papers had been split between three counting tables but the votes for Mr Johnston counted at one were missed off his total.

Andrew Seekings, returning officer, said: “I apologise to the candidates, election agents and voters for this mistake, which resulted from simple human error and was not picked up during the additional checks made at the count.

“Unfortunately it was discovered too late to do anything as the result had already been called.

“We will be investigating how this could happen to ensure procedures are put in place to prevent it happening again.”

Mr Johnston, who is the great-nephew of Labour stalwarts Joan Minto and her late husband Bill, said he was disappointed.

The father-of-two was not at Friday’s count when the result was announced as he had left to support a karate grading.

Mr Johnston, who grew up in Moorclose, said: “I’ll still be working in the Moorclose area. If a vacancy comes up at Moorclose at any level I’d like to get the backing of the Labour party to stand.”

Independents Stephen Stoddart and Dennis Robertson and Labour’s Peter Bales, Joan Wright and Ann Bales were also elected in Moorclose.

In St Michael’s ward, Labour members Mary Bainbridge, Andrew Lawson, Kate Schofield, David Cashman, Neil Schofield and Billy Miskelly were elected.

Independent Joe Holliday and Labour’s Mike Heaslip and Konrad Hansen won in St John’s ward.

Peter McHarry, independent, was elected in the new Ellerbeck ward.

The following people were elected unopposed: Hilary Harrington (Ind), Vonnie Morgan (Lab) and Jim Osborn (Lab) in Harrington. Tricia Wardley (Lab) in Iredale. Bill Bacon (Lab) and Barbara Cannon (Lab) in Moss Bay. Beth Dixon (Lab) in Northside. Antony McGuckin (Lab) in St Joseph’s. Mark Fryer (Lab) in Stainburn.