THE LIBERAL Democrats have announced their challenger for the Cleveland by-election following the death of Councillor Brian Castle earlier this month.

Father-of-three Cllr Castle, who served Cleveland ward with deputy council leader Ian Gibb and fellow Tory John Popham, died from a heart attack at his Hanwell home on June 10.

Francesco Fruzza will try to win a foothold for the Liberal Democrats in the Conservative-dominated ward.

IT manager Mr Fruzza said: "Having a family myself I have great sympathy for Brian Castle's friends and relations. I pass on my condolences to them.

"I am standing in the by-election because I want to continue my fight for a cleaner, safer local environment and against the threat of the Uxbridge Road tram.

"If elected I will devote myself to working for the residents of Cleveland."

Mr Fruzza stood for the Cleveland ward in May 2006 and was 88 votes behind being elected.

The married father-of-two said: "Living in the area, I know that many residents are disappointed that the Conservatives have not made the improvements they promised since they gained control of Ealing Council more than a year ago.

"I will offer a strong opposition to the ruling Conservative group on the council."