Southampton ward local election cancelled as tributes paid to candidate following death

The death of Graham Galton has been announced Credit: Facebook / Southampton Conservatives in Coxford

A local election has been suspended following the death of a candidate after polls opened.

The poll for the Coxford ward in Southampton will now be abandoned after news was received that Conservative candidate Graham Galton had died.

Southampton City Council has urged residents not to go and vote in the affected ward, with another election now expected to take place within 35 days.

Mr Galton's been described as "a true gentleman, an incredibly kind, warm and friendly man, who many people got on with and he loved to take the time to talk with anyone".

Cllr Daniel Fitzhenry, Leader of the Conservative Group on Southampton City Council added: "I have had the pleasure of spending lots of fun times with Graham over the past few weeks during this election period, witnessing and feeling his humour and willingness to help others.

"Graham loved his family deeply and supported our wider team continually in all he did. We recently had so many laughs together. I shall greatly miss him and I know our team will too.

"Graham was committed to his role as a councillor for Millbrook and was excited about standing for election today in the Coxford ward. He thoroughly enjoyed his role on the council's licensing committee, bringing his rational, pragmatic and loving personality into play to solve problems and ensure high quality standards.

"There are people who light up a room with joy and warmth when you see them, and Graham was one of them.

"It’s a very, very sad day for our team and our thoughts, love and affection go to Diana his wife, Steve his son and their wider family.

"We will miss you Graham so very much and will remember you and that smile of yours forever more."

A statement from the authority said, "Our condolences go to Mr Galton’s family.

"The law provides that where proof of death of a candidate is delivered to the Returning Officer after polls have opened, but before the declaration of result, the poll must be abandoned, and a new election must be held for that ward."

The cause of Mr Galton’s death has not yet been made public.