A Liberal Democrat councillor defected to the Conservatives saying his dedication to his town was not recognised by his old party.

Robbie Robertson, who represents Newhaven Valley on Lewes District Council, announced his decision to cross the floor after his party raised council tax by 16% in Newhaven.

He said: “I am a dedicated and hard working councillor but sadly in my present position my skills are not utilised.

“Becoming a councillor was for me driven by the desire to involve myself in the Newhaven and district community and be instrumental in driving forward change and improvements.

“Unfortunately I can only be of use to the community if I am given the opportunity and this has certainly not been the case in recent times. The time has come I believe for me to associate myself with a party which hopefully will recognise my dedication to the community of Newhaven and district and give me the chance to work effectively on their behalf.”

Coun Robertson is a former mayor of Newhaven. His defection reduces the Lib Dem majority to three.

The Conservatives and the Lib Dems have been at loggerheads over plans for a waste incinerator at Newhaven.

Coun Ann De Vecchi, Lib Dem leader of Lewes District Council, was reported as saying: “The people of Newhaven who voted for a Lib Dem councillor against the incinerator can feel rightly angry at his decision to move to the proincinerator party.”