The lives of firefighters and the public will be put at risk if cuts to a fire service go ahead.

That was the message from campaigners against the proposed cuts to East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at a public meeting held tonight.

Fire chief Des Prichard, who was sat on the panel, came under fire from the other members consisting of politicians and union representatives.

In particular, he was accused of  "a complete lack of awareness" of the consultation about up and coming cuts to the fire service in Brighton and Hove.

Nancy Platts, Labour parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, added: “We oppose these cuts because they will endanger the lives of firefighters and the lives of the general public.”

Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, also faced criticism for failing to raise fire service cuts problems in Parliament.

Davy Jones, Green Party parliamentary candidate and panel member, added: "We need to have a national campaign against these fire cuts, all we need is two fire authorities from different counties.”

Mr Prichard blamed lack of government funding for the upcoming posts and stated that if these plans did not go through, then another plan which could involve the closing of up to seven fire stations in the area would have to take its place.

Mr Prichard  went on to state that the fire service in East Sussex needed to cut £7 million from its budget by 2018.

However, Jim Parrott, panel member and member of the Fire Brigade Union which is campaigning against the cuts, directly criticised Mr Prichard, stating: “We’ve heard all this for the last four years but we’re not seeing it in consultations and it’s not being put to the government."

The event was chaired by Simon Herbert, a local firefighter.

A total of 18 councillors who make up the fire authority will make a decision on the fire service cuts next week.

Mr Kirby pleaded for party to unite against the cuts.

He said: “The strength of the campaign is that it’s cross-party, we should all do what’s best for Brighton.”