THE leader of the Conservative Party at Lancashire County Council has been ousted by a fellow Preston-based councillor.

Michael Welsh, the councillor for Preston North East, has been voted out of the position of party leader at the annual general meeting of the Tories at County Hall this morning.

Mr Welsh, who has been leader since 2003 will be replaced by Geoffrey Driver, council representative for the Greyfriars area.

Last year, Coun Driver narrowly missed clinching leadership at the group's annual meeting, failing by 15 votes to 14.