An underfire councillor has bowed to calls for his resignation after weeks of pressure from rivals.

Paul Lainchbury, one of three councillors for the Goldsmid ward in Hove, handed notice yesterday that he would be standing down from Brighton and Hove City Council.

His resignation will trigger a by-election, expected to take place next month at the earliest, which could change the political balance of the council.

Without him the Conservatives will no longer be able to outvote the combined Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat opposition groups.

Labour and the Greens said they were confident they could win the by-election.

Financial adviser Mr Lainchbury, 27, was criticised after he missed every committee meeting for a year and was absent from residents' and community groups.

In his letter of resignation to council leader Mary Mears and chief executive Alex Bailey he said the impact of the recession on his business meant he had been unable to dedicate enough time to council work.

He wrote: "I was prepared to dedicate as much service and time as was required when I stood for election but the situation now is such that I must focus on my own business in order to protect my livelihood and indeed, the livelihoods of those the business employs."

Mr Lainchbury was elected in May 2007 with 1,330 votes, the highest for any of the candidates in his ward.

He stopped claiming his £11,200 a year allowance in January after concerns were raised about his attendance.