Leader of Surrey County Council, Dr Andrew Povey, has announced he is to stand down from his position next month, days after sacking his deputy leader David Hodge.

Dr Povey, who took up the position in 2009, said he will step down following the next full council meeting on October 11 to "develop his business interests".

He said: "I am proud of what the council has achieved during my leadership and firmly believe the authority is well placed to become a truly world class organisation.

"I believe the foundations we have set over the past two years mean the council can now go on to even greater things and whoever takes over as leader can look forward to my support as they continue this work."

However Eber Kington, Surrey County Councillor for Epsom and Ewell North, has said Mr Povey did not step down but has been kicked out amid a continuing lack of confidence and disagreements with deputy leader, David Hodge.

He said: "The idea that he’s taken this time to look after his business is nonsense - he’s been kicked out.

"More than half of the Conservatives told him to go and it’s not the first time.

"There was a vote of no confidence a couple of months back.

"Povey has been responsible for some of the most damaging and unpopular decisions of the Conservative administration - that’s pay and display and the libraries.

"Povey has admitted he and Hodge disagreed but has said it is not important to know what they disagreed about.

"I think it’s crucial that we know why they disagreed because Surrey residents need to know what decisions and policies caused this fracture so they can judge if the new leader will be any better."

Referring to disagreements between Povey and Hodge, Councillor Hazel Watson, Surrey's Liberal Democrat group leader, said: "I think it's very damaging that there is all this in-fighting and wrangling.

"It's a real distraction from what they should be doing, which is serving Surrey's residents and trying to provide them with what they need."

Councillor Darren Dale, leader of the Epsom Conservatives added: "I would have like to have seen Andrew stay in a little bit longer because I think he’s done a pretty good job with what he’s done so far.

"It’s obviously a personal decision that Andrew has taken and probably not lightly."