PLANS to defer Christchurch's referendum until after the General Election have been branded "wise".

Members of Christchurch council voted in favour of putting off the controversial vote until after the General Election, following the unexpected announcement by Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Tuesday.

Cllr David Flagg, proposing the move at full council, said they had expected the decision on local government reorganisation from the Government by now.

But in light of the Prime Minister's announcement, he said it was prudent to defer a decision on the wording of the official question until a decision on LGR had been made.

This is now not likely to be until after June 8, a spokesperson for Future Dorset councils confirmed.

Members of Christchurch council had been due to agree the exact working for the referendum at Tuesday's meeting, with ballot papers due to be sent for printing on Wednesday, the day after the full council meeting.

Independent leader Cllr Colin Bungey added: "It would be foolhardy to go forward with this and a possible waste of taxpayers' money.

"It will give us time to look again at the documentation if this rears its head again; it will be ready to go."

But former leader Cllr Ray Nottage said: "I think someone ought to stand up and confirm that not all members supported this referendum."

He added: "I do not want it worked on; it is a waste of time."

He abstained from the vote, which was voted in favour by the other 19 members present.

Alistair Somerville Ford, who previously offered to pay £30,000 towards the cost of the referendum, said the council had made the right move.

"It's a very wise decision; no one knows what is going to happen in June. The minister could lose his seat. This is the right choice at this moment."