SIX Conservative district councillors in South Oxfordshire, including a former council leader, have been suspended by their party, it is understood.

John Cotton, who was South Oxfordshire District Council's leader until April, is said to have been suspended over a tweet that accused senior councillors of living in 'La La Land' over its Local Plan.

He was SODC's leader from October 2014 until April.

SODC councillors voted to accepted its Local Plan last month. As part of that, homes could now be built on Oxford's Green Belt, including on the Grenoble Road site. Local elections will be held in South Oxfordshire in May.

Mr Cotton said of the council's leader, Jane Murphy: "Jane clearly lacks confidence in her ability to lead the group: lashing out at such a significant number of colleagues so close to the elections is just bizarre."

Elizabeth Gillespie, Sue Lawson, Tony Harbour, Elaine Hornsby and Imran Lokhon have also been suspended by the Conservative group.

It is understood a meeting of SODC's Conservative councillors was held on Thursday, with Mrs Murphy referring to 'various emails about breaches to the group rules'.

Mrs Gillespie is said to have voiced concerns over the Local Plan on BBC Radio Oxford last month; all others suspended voted against it at a council meeting on December 20.

It is understood that an investigation over the councillors' conduct will be undertaken over the next three weeks.

Mrs Murphy was approached to comment on the suspensions.