The Liberal Democrats say their decision not to contest the Adur Council local elections was deliberate rather than accidental.

A party spokesman told our reporter on Tuesday the party was not fielding any candidates for Adur District Council in May because of confusion over nomination day.

But Elisa Vaughan, who leads the Liberal Democrat group on the council, said today: "There have been local problems within East Worthing and Adur Liberal Democrats.

"Because of this the group made a conscious decision not to field candidates for the forthcoming elections.

"It was felt more appropriate to use our resources to regroup and fight next year's election with a strong united team when the whole of Adur District Council is up for election."

Coun Vaughan said talk about missing nomination deadlines had only succeeded in making the party look foolish.

She said: "The people of Adur deserve to know the truth, that we were fully aware of the consequences of our decision.

"I apologise to our supporters who will not have a Liberal Democrat candidate to vote for in the forthcoming elections and realise a lot of people will feel disappointed."