A LEAKED email has revealed how the council stopped the publishing of an investigation into the behaviour of a Conservative election candidate.

Robert Nemeth, who is the Conservative candidate for Hove and Portslade, is facing a standards panel after he called homeless figures released by the council as “bogus” while councillor for Wish Ward.

But the findings of the investigation into the behaviour of the candidate have faced an “inordinate delay”, according to the council officer dealing with the case.

In a leaked email, he explained this was due “mainly by the failure of (Cllr Nemeth) to co-operate”.

A “tentative” date for the publishing of the report was then set for Monday.

The same council officer said the publishing of the report would now need to be delayed until after the election, due to election guidelines.

After furious councillors demanded the report be made public, he explained how it could be perceived as being used politically ahead of the election and feared that people would boycott the hearing.

Cllr Nemeth said the issue is being used by Labour as a “political tool to stifle debate” which “is a waste of time and money”.

His comments, which are under investigation, relate to figures released by council which claimed the number of homeless people in the city had fallen from 178 to 64 between 2017 and 2018.

The count was conducted on a night when the city faced heavy snow.

Cllr Nemeth said: “The claim was made that the number of rough-sleepers had fallen but this was obviously untrue to anybody with eyes.

“As Jim Deans of Sussex Homeless Support said, nobody was on the street that night. They found shelter wherever they could.

“It’s shameful that such a claim about numbers falling was made by Labour and I will continue to highlight it.

“I debunked similar curious figures about Hove Library’s maintenance bill which led to Labour plans to close and sell it being defeated. They reported me for that too.”

The council said it was “sorry” for the delay but says no date was ever set.

A spokeswoman said: “We understand the sensitivities regarding this matter so sought the advice of the two Independent persons who sit on the Audit and Standards Committee.

“They both come back with a clear view that the hearing should not take place during the pre-election period.

“For completeness, Cllr Littman, as chairman of the audit and standards committee was also consulted and he too was of the view that the hearing should not take place before the election.”

Peter Kyle, the Labour candidate for Hove and Portslade, said: “Mr Nemeth has wasted no time attacking the character of others in this election, so it’s no surprise that the spotlight now falls on his own. Hove and Portslade residents have a right to see this report in full and judge for themselves if it has implications on his fitness for office.”