The Tory Councillor found guilty of using abusive words against gay men by the Magistrates Court in Brighton last Tuesday has resigned.

Peter Willows, 75, decided to resign from his post as Councillor for Hangleton and Knoll Ward in Brighton after a meeting with Conservative Group Leader Councillor Brian Oxley at Willow’s home last night.

The resignation will take place today and will be effective immediately. Brighton and Hove City Council Conservative Group are keen to point out that this has been Willows’ personal decision.

Afterwards, Councillor Oxley and Mr Long said: “Councillor Willows has had 12 distinguished years as a Councillor for Hangleton and Knoll, and as was agreed in court on Tuesday, he is widely respected for his work in the area and the care and devotion he shows for local people.

“He will be missed as a Councillor by his many friends and supporters in the area and by the Conservative Group and Party. This whole episode has been a personal tragedy for Councillor Willows but we are pleased he has decided to step down with dignity.

“He has many activities in which he is involved and which he intends to continue to pursue. We know that everyone will want to wish him well as he starts to rebuild his life.

“We now regard the matter as closed.”

Willows was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £250 in court costs on Tuesday after being found guilty of making comments linking gay people to paedophilia at a council reception in May.