A COUNCIL election contest in part of Christchurch has been suspended following the death of a Labour candidate Richard Walls had been contesting the ward of North Highcliffe and Walkford in elections to Christchurch Borough Council.

Mr Walls died on Tuesday, the council said.

The poll in that ward has been suspended and North Highcliffe and Walkford will instead elect its borough councillors on Thursday, June 18.

Voting in the general election will go ahead as normal.

David McIntosh, chief executive of Christchurch Borough Council and returning officer for the elections, said: “This is very sad news and our condolences go out to Mr Walls’s family.

“We will now be following Electoral Commission policy by suspending the borough council election in this ward and rescheduling it for June 18.

“Voters in this ward should still turn up to their polling station in order to vote in the parliamentary election. Elections in every other ward in Christchurch carry on as normal.”

Candidates already nominated in the ward will not need to be nominated again but will automatically be candidates at the June 18 poll.

Any postal votes already sent in the borough council elections in this ward will be sealed and will not be valid. New ballot papers will be issued to postal voters.