THE LEADER of West Oxfordshire Liberal Democrats will stay on until January despite resigning two days ago following a 'toxic' speech from one of his councillors.

Julian Cooper, of Woodstock and Bladon ward, is remaining in the role until the new year, when he will make way for a new party chief.

The Lib Dem leader resigned suddenly during Wednesday's West Oxfordshire District Council meeting, after a fiery debate over a failed motion asking the council to endorse a People's Vote on Brexit.

Mr Cooper supported the motion, which was proposed by fellow Liberal Democrats Andy Graham and Jake Acock, but condemned Mr Acock's speech as representing 'a sad day' for the council.

The Liberal Democrat group held an emergency meeting immediately after council, where it was decided Mr Cooper would continue as group leader.

Mr Graham, who is also party chairman, said: "Mr Cooper has done a great job over many years as group leader.

"I am happy that he is continuing to play a full role with the Liberal Democrats as an experienced councillor and as one of the two councillors for Woodstock and Bladon."

He added: "Passions are raised high over the peoples vote and other parties may want to make mileage over what happened at the council meeting.

"But one thing is clear: Julian and the rest of the Liberal Democrats are united in their defence of the people having the final say on the Brexit Deal and that includes the option to stay in the EU."

Prior to the meeting around 30 members of the public attended a People's Vote rally outside the council headquarters.

Many 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.