A COUNCIL candidate has come under fire for saying rail commuters “are regularly and severely inconvenienced” by people committing suicide.

Robert Nemeth, Conservative candidate for Brighton and Hove City Council’s Wish ward and parliamentary office manager for Hove MP Mike Weatherley, has been criticised for the post on Twitter.

He said: “It has to be said... far too many commuters are regularly and severely inconvenienced by suicides (not their own) on the line.”

His comment on Wednesday prompted several responses.

Mark Laverick, replied: “Your complete lack of compassion shows through. What about the poor person who felt so bleak they did this?”

Mr Nemeth’s tweet was written on the day a man was struck and killed by a train in non-suspicious circumstances at Wivelsfield Station shortly before 6.30pm.

Mr Nemeth told The Argus: “I recently missed part of my grandfather’s funeral because of chaos on the rail network and just wanted to highlight the impact on others of these incidents, not least on drivers and their loved ones, emergency service workers, rail crews, and commuters and their often young families.

“So many people are affected by this and who is sticking up for them?”

Julie Cattell, a Labour candidate for Preston Park ward, contacted The Argus initially to say Mr Nemeth’s candidature should be reconsidered because of his “cruel and heartless comments”.

Mr Nemeth was defended by the chairman of Brighton and Hove Conservatives Linda Freeman, who said he was “not a callous person by any means”.

She said: “This is political opportunism. It’s very unsavoury. I know he didn’t mean it in that way. It came over the wrong way. He is a very good candidate. He deals with a lot of issues and is popular in his ward.

“I absolutely stand by Robert.”

A Samaritans spokeswoman said: “We need to remember that each suicide is a tragedy and comments like these can add to the pain of bereaved friends and family at an already traumatic time. Suicide is a complex issue.

"When a person is experiencing suicidal feelings they may not be thinking with a clear mind and may not be able to see past their own situation. Instead, they may feel hopeless, disconnected or believe that others might be better off without them.”

Anyone going through a difficult time is advised to call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org.