EAST Lothian Council leader Willie Innes is taking a leave of absence to undergo treatment for cancer, it has been announced.

Councillor Innes, 66, who has led the local authority for five years, informed fellow councillors and staff of the decision following a meeting of the full council earlier today, in Haddington Town House.

In a statement, the council said: "East Lothian Council leader, Willie Innes, is taking a leave of absence of six weeks while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Councillor Norman Hampshire has been appointed as deputy leader of the Labour group. He will act as leader during Councillor Innes' absence."

Married Mr Innes, from Prestonpans, has been a Labour councillor since 1988 and represents Preston, Seton, Gosford ward.