Leader of Oxfordshire County Council loses seat

Among the councillors who lost their seats in the Oxfordshire County Council elections this week was the authority’s leader.

Mr Ian Hudspeth, who has been a county councillor since 2005, and served as leader since 2012, said the result was unexpected. (Image file from Banbury Guardian from Oxfordshire County Council)

Ian Hudspeth lost his Woodstock seat to Lib Dem challenger Andy Graham in a shock result.

Mr Hudspeth, who has been a county councillor since 2005, and served as leader since 2012, said the result was unexpected.

He said: “It is disappointing obviously, but that is democracy for you, and that is what the ballot box has said.”

Of his time in office, Mr Hudspeth reflected on challenges he had dealt with, including a historic child sexual abuse scandal, leading to prison sentences of as many as 95 years.

He added: “On the finances, we have had to make some really difficult decisions which I didn’t personally want to make. But you have to balance the books.”

He also regarded signing the Oxfordshire Growth Deal as an achievement in office.

But Mr Hudspeth said he was most proud of retaining 30 minute home care visits from 2014 onwards, balancing the books during austerity where other councils had to reduce visit times to 15 minutes.

The former council leader thanked the residents of his ward for having voted him for so long, and said his advice to Mr Graham was ‘always be your own man’.

He plans to spend some time relaxing before deciding what to do next.