Hastings council leader Jeremy Birch dies in hospital

Council leader Jeremy Birch
Image caption Councillor Jeremy Birch was thought to have suffered a stroke

The leader of Hastings Borough Council has died in hospital after what was thought to be a stroke.

Labour Councillor Jeremy Birch was taken to hospital after he fell ill on Friday afternoon and had remained in a medically-induced coma since then.

His partner issued a statement through Hastings council which said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the sudden death of Jeremy Birch."

She said the family wanted to thank the Conquest Hospital's critical care unit.

Mr Birch had been a member of the council since 1998 and the leader for a total of 13 years, over two separate periods.

Deputy leader Peter Chowney has taken over Mr Birch's duties.

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