THE Tories have won two Hampshire by-elections triggered by the resignation of controversial councillor Penny Jackman.

Mrs Jackman, 53, quit New Forest District Council and Lymington and Pennington Town Council in July without giving any explanation for her decision.

Now the Conservatives have retained the two seats, with former army officer Andrew Gossage winning both.

Mrs Jackman was taken to court following an incident in 2012, when she slapped UKIP candidate Mike Beggs at a previous by-election count.

Mr Beggs, then 72, suffered extensive damage to his teeth after she lashed out during a row over his election leaflets.

At a hearing at Southampton County Court in 2015 Judge Peter Ralls refused to accept she feared she was about to be assaulted and awarded Mr Beggs more than £14,000 in damages, plus costs.

In March last year it emerged that Mrs Jackman had been made bankrupt by Mr Beggs after paying the damages but not the costs.

In the district council by-election Mr Gossage polled 497 votes, 52 more than Liberal Democrat candidate Jack Davies.

In the town council contest the 55-year-old father-of-two polled 577 votes. Runner-up was Pennington Community candidate Edward Jearrad.

Ironically Mr Gossage was on holiday and missed his moment of triumph.

His victory speech, written in advance in case he won, was read by Cllr James Binns.

Mr Gossage said: “I regret being unable to attend the count and apologise for not being being here. The by-election was called after I had booked to be away with my children for the first time in five years.

“I am sure you will understand the importance of family time, especially when it is so rare, and forgive me on this occasion.”