A new leader of Kingston Council will be decided by June 24, acting leader Liz Green has said.

Liberal Democrat councillors in Kingston will choose a replacement for Derek Osbourne by Monday next week, who will automatically become the new council leader.

Former leader Mr Osbourne resigned on Wednesday after being arrested on suspicion of possessing indecent images of children.

Councillor Green, lead member for children and young people, has taken temporary charge before a permanent leader is found.

Coun Green admitted the party heirachy would be undergoing several changes in the wake of Mr Osbourne's shock resignation, but confirmed that a leader, at least, would be decided soon.

She said: "We will have the leader in place a week on Monday.

"I've been told by democratic services that whoever is leader of the ruling party becomes leader of the council automatically.

"The rest will follow over the next few weeks."

Those next few weeks is likely to see a very different looking ruling party by the end of them.

Mr Osbourne's departure means that not only is the party - and the council - looking for a new leader, but it leaves the Lib Dems one senior member down.

A by-election for Mr Osbourne's seat will be held on July 25, but even if the Lib Dems win, the incoming councillor is unlikely to be thrust straight into a portfolio role, she added.

That means a backbencher may have to step up into a senior position - and there are several available.

Should Liz Green be made permanent leader, for example, she will vacate two other roles - deputy leader and lead member for children's services.

In that scenario, both positions would need to be filled with already experienced councillors. That would in turn leave a vacancy in another lead member role.

Coun Green said: "The chances of somebody coming into the leadership role from the backbenches is unlikely - the next leader will be a senior member.

"But there will be some changes that need to happen."

The acting leader added that work to improve children's services in the wake of last year's damning Ofsted inspection "would not be blown off course", despite this week's shocking news.

She said: "The whole leadership team is supporting the administration so that our work continues effectively, to ensure life within the council continues as we get over the shock.

"Our children's services are still a priority and we will not be blown off course."