THE LEADER of the West Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats resigned from his post after condemning a 'toxic' atmosphere at a district council meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

Julian Cooper, of Woodstock and Bladon ward, made the surprise announcement during a fiery debate surrounding a failed motion asking the council to endorse a People's Vote on Brexit.

Mr Cooper, who was first elected to the council in 1986, said: "This has been a very sad day for this council.

"We should have respect for each other's views and I don't think we have shown it, so I resign as leader."

Several members of the council called for Mr Cooper to reconsider his decision.

Liberal Democrat councillors Andy Graham and Jake Acock proposed the motion, with Mr Acock organising a People's Vote rally prior to this afternoon's meeting.

Around 30 members of the public attended the meeting and there was noticeable discontent as the motion was voted down, with just 11 councillors voting in favour.

The district voted to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum and Mr Acock earlier called for councillors to vote down the motion 'at their peril'.

He added: "After all, we have local elections in May and the people of West Oxfordshire will remember."