PURBECK District Council (PDC) looks set to re-evaluate its position on the local government merger issue.

In a shock move at Tuesday night's budget meeting, district councillors backed calls for an extraordinary meeting - where the Echo understands members could consider pulling out of the Dorset Area Joint Committee.

PDC, whose members have voiced opposition to the merger, initially voted against joining the joint committee.

However, Purbeck and East Dorset council withdrew their opposition, in December, after Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid ruled he was 'minded to approve' the overall merger plans.

Christchurch Borough Council remains officially opposed to the merger plans as they stand.

Under the proposals, Dorset's nine current councils would become two new unitary authorities.

Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch councils would form one; Dorset County Council, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland councils the other.

PDC agreed to timetable the special meeting to also 'consider the delay in the Secretary of State making a decision' on the merger.