A councillor who called a constituent a “village idiot” on Twitter has resigned from her role in charge of communication.

Councillor Donna Edmunds stepped down from her post as lead councillor for communications at Lewes District Council after growing criticism.

Earlier this month The Argus revealed Conservative Coun Edmunds told a constituent to “pay your taxes to die of cancer if that’s what you want” during an online row about the NHS.

After that article Coun Edmunds banned public access to her Twitter account and took down her blog.

Lib Dem leader James MacCleary said: “This announcement is not before time. It was not sustainable that the cabinet member for communications was making comments like that online.

Coun Tony Nicholson, Conservative leader of the council, said: “I am grateful for all the work Coun Edmunds has given to the council and she will continue to play an important role as we continue our focus on delivering value for money services to the residents of Lewes District.

“I appreciate this was a difficult decision to make, but Coun Edmunds has shown she is a person of conviction and acted with dignity by putting the interests of the organisation first.”

Coun Nicholson refused to be drawn further on the reasons for Coun Edmunds’ departure but confirmed it was related to the controversy over the Twitter comments.