A Conservative councillor has left the party over concerns about the government’s stance on the conflict in the Middle East.

Samer Bagaeen  has now left the Tory group of Brighton and Hove City Council and will stand in Westdene and Hove Park as an independent candidate.

It comes as Mr Bagaeen said he wants to focus on his ward work as the new cabinet shakes up how the council and councillors work.

The councillor, 51, who was first elected in 2019, said: “It’s a difference in the position in the Middle East. I was born in Jordan and have a Palestinian mother and my decision is to do with my differences with the national party.

“I’m more concerned about just getting along with the day job but it is sad because I’ve never left a party before.

“Because of the cabinet system we will all need to re-assess how we work for residents.

“My approach to my work won’t change – I will focus on what residents want me to focus on.”

Mr Bagaeen was first elected to Westdene and Hove Park in 2019. He will now sit as an independent councillor but will not be part of the Brighton Independents group.

The Conservative Party group in Brighton will now be reduced to five councillors following Mr Bagaeen’s resignation from the group.

He stressed that his relationship with the group was not the reason for leaving and said he would continue to work alongside his former Tory colleagues.


To have access to all of our best stories subscribe to The Argus here

Councillor Alistair McNair, leader of the Brighton Conservative group, said it was “a shame” that Mr Bagaeen fell out with the Tory party over the conflict in the Middle East.

He added: “I would hope that our politics still align on local issues. We will still be in touch with him and work with him in Westdene and Hove Park.

“Because the council is moving to a cabinet system we will need to get used to a radical change in governance but we will keep pressing as much as we can.

“We will continue to use our influence where we can.”