The Conservative candidate for Hove has accused Jeremy Corbyn of being an anti- Semite.

At the Sussex Friends of Israel hustings on Sunday evening, Peter Kyle and Kristy Adams clashed over the Labour leader’s views as well as on funding for education and for the NHS and Brexit.

Mr Kyle was forced to defend his decision not to stand as an independent while Mrs Adams invoked Donald Trump to defend her position on Brexit.

The Jewish community event, which was held under tight security at the New Church Road synagogue, Hove, less than 24 hours after the London Bridge terrorist atrocity, was combative from the start with the first questioner accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being “openly anti- Semitic”.

Mr Kyle reminded his audience that he had twice voted against Mr Corbyn’s leadership and voted no confidence in him when given the opportunity.

He added: “It would be ludicrous for me to say I wouldn’t rather be going into the election with another leader.”

But while he said he was “ashamed” that former London mayor Ken Livingstone was still a member of his party, he stopped short of accusing Mr Corbyn of anti-Semitism.

Mrs Adams, though, made her views clear, saying: “I couldn’t stand for a party whose leader was anti-Semitic. So if I were in Peter Kyle’s position I’d become an independent.”

Later Mr Kyle was challenged over whether it was “honourable” for him to continue to stand as an official Labour Party candidate given his strong and public disagreements with his leader.

He said he was proud to be a member, adding: “I believe the Labour Party is the single biggest vehicle for positive social change the country has ever seen.”

On Brexit, Mr Kyle criticised his opponent for refusing to say – first in an interview with this newspaper and when questioned subsequently – how she voted over Brexit. However some members of the 90-strong audience shouted “irrelevant”.

Mrs Adams said that having voted to leave, what mattered was having a “strong and stable” leader to deliver the best result and gave the example of Mrs May’s trip to America where, she said, “Donald Trump said ‘I’ll give you a good deal’”.

The Labour incumbent drew laughs from the audience by pointing out that Mr Trump then told Angela Merkel Europe would be at the front of the queue for a trade deal with the USA and then told the Chinese premier the same thing in China. He said of Brexit: “We don’t need blind optimism, we need facts.”

Mrs Adams, whose mother worked as a nurse in Sussex, said that the NHS was “part of her family” and it was crucial to have “quality leadership” in place.

On the topic of education she said: “My children are in local state schools so it’s personal for me.”

She said she would challenge the Government to ensure no school lost out under new funding rules.

Mr Kyle said the reason Sussex has a hospital in special measures, an ambulance trust in special measures and suffered the Coperforma patient transport debacle last year was because of the Health and Social Care Bill backed by Theresa May before her premiership.

He said: “These things don’t happen by accident.”

And he said as chairman of governors at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy he had been forced to have conversations about letting staff go due to a £700,000 cut in the school’s budget.

He criticised the Tory policy of opening grammar schools, claiming 80 per cent of £4 billion allocation of funds would go on streaming schools which do not have social deprivation.