Business leaders are to discuss splitting Brighton and Hove in half.

The Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce Big Debate will take place at City College in Pelham Street, Brighton, at 6pm on February 26.

The panellists include Andrew Nichols from Hove Business Association, Will McInnes from Nixon McInnes and Tony Mernagh from Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership.

A spokesman for the chamber said: “We’ll be inviting businesses to explore the idea of untying our city’s matrimonial knot, of Brighton and Hove going their own separate ways.

“The evening event will be a twist on our highly successful, traditional debating format, plus ample opportunity for business leaders to comment from the floor. “It will be a chance to hear hard business cases for and against our city’s shotgun marriage but also, perhaps, to try some flights of fancy.”

Julia Chanteray, president of the chamber, said: “It might seem whimsical to talk now about a split between Brighton and Hove, but it isn’t that long since you could say the same of England and Scotland – yet look what’s happening there.

“The Big Debate about our city is being held in the light of the Scottish debate about national independence. However whether it’s Brighton or Hove that would be gaining their independence remains to be seen.” The event is sponsored by law firm Wynne Baxter.

Chairman Dean Orgill said: “Having spent all that time trying to get city status it’s hard to see the benefits of splitting Brighton and Hove in two.

“My instinct would be we're stronger together.

“That said, the chamber’s Big Debates always manage to pull out some good arguments so I look forward to hearing what each side has to say.

“As one of the largest employers in the city we value the chance to hear from local businesspeople at events like this.”