A Dorset Council councillor is to resign his seat after winning an election at Exmouth in Devon.

Cllr Matt Hall had moved to the neighbouring county to take up a job as a planning officer after recently qualifying.

His move is likely to lead to an election for his Sherborne West seat on Dorset Council in the coming weeks.

He had been criticised by Conservative councillors for moving away from the area, whilst retaining his Dorset seat which he has held since spring 2019.

In a statement Mr Hall says it came as a surprise to be elected in Exmouth and it had always been his intention to step down from his Dorset Council role before next May’s elections but will now resign after next week's annual Dorset Council meeting.

He said: “I had agreed to stand as a paper candidate in Exmouth ahead of a move to the town. However last week Exmouth, like much of the UK, voted overwhelmingly to reject the nasty politics of the Conservative Party and I now find myself a councillor on two different councils. It had always been my intention to step down from Dorset Council at the elections next year, but it isn’t fair to constituents in either place to try and do both jobs. So with great sadness I have decided to give up my Sherborne seat early.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Dorset Council Nick Ireland paid tribute to Cllr Hall saying: “Exmouth’s gain is very much Dorset’s loss. Matt has been an outstanding councillor for Dorset and is a prime example of why electing Liberal Democrats is good for local communities. He works tirelessly for residents of Sherborne and a raft of local charities. He champions local causes and is always available to help constituents with their problems.

“Matt will be sorely missed by his fellow councillors and by the many hundreds of Sherborne residents he has personally helped. We look forward to putting forward a candidate who can carry on his good work.”

Matt Hall added: “I am extremely sad to be leaving Sherborne. It has been my home for over 20 years and I’ve been a councillor here in many different guises for 12 years. I am enormously proud of what I and my fellow Liberal Democrats have achieved; from dealing with blocked drains, trip hazards and potholes, to getting funding from the various councils to help fund highway improvements and supporting local groups and organisations.

“The success of Liberal Democrat candidates across the country in last week’s local elections shows that people are tired of being taken for granted and want elected officials who are going to work for them rather than themselves.”