OXFORDSHIRE County Council's Leader Ian Hudspeth has been in hospital on the day of an important meeting.

Mr Hudspeth had been due to propose delaying next year's county council elections at the county's full meeting today.

But instead, it was announced he was unwell at the start of the meeting this morning, with his deputy Judith Heathcoat due to present the discussion instead.

Mr Hudspeth is expected to spend several days in hospital and a council spokesman said he will be back 'as soon as possible' and that his illness is not related to Covid-19.

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There were tributes to the Tory council leader from some, including cabinet member Liam Walker, who said: "Sending my best wishes to Ian Hudspeth who is sadly in hospital (he’s recovering well) so is missing our Oxfordshire County Council full meeting today which I know will annoy him. Enjoy the rest leader!"

Mr Hudspeth's proposal to delay next year's county elections had been criticised by political opponents last week.

The proposal said Oxfordshire's different councils may all be replaced in the near future by a single council, as the Government is planning to reorganise local government across England.

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He had amended his original proposal so that elections were no longer delayed, but so it still included plans Oxfordshire's different council to still discuss the possibility they might all be replaced.

It is due to be discussed this afternoon.

A  county council spokesman said: "The Leader was taken ill yesterday and unfortunately was unable to attend the meeting today. We are awaiting an update, but we expect the Leader to be back as soon as possible.”