Conservative leader Tony Janio is standing down after a disappointing set of local election results for his party in Brighton and Hove.
He will remain sitting as a councillor but will make way for a new local leader of his party.
Councillor Janio narrowly held on to his seat in Hangleton and Knoll along with fellow ward councillors Dawn Barnett and Nick Lewry.
The Tory trio survived after a surge in support in their ward for Labour and four recounts at the Brighton Centre where the election results were declared.
But his party lost three seats in Withdean to the Greens, two in Hove wards to Labour and one in Rottingdean Coastal to Independent candidate Bridget Fishleigh.
Another Conservative councillor, Anne Meadows, who had switched from Labour, also lost her seat in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean.
As a result the Conservatives now have 14 seats on Brighton and Hove City Council compared with 21 going into the election and 20 when the council was elected four years ago.
Councillor Janio blamed Brexit and his party’s national leadership for their poor performance locally.
He said: “I couldn’t stand again as leader of the Conservative group while Theresa May remains Prime Minister.
“This was a massive Brexit kicking for us.”
He denied being petulant about losing and said that there was “sheer anger in the doorstep” over Brexit and the two main party leaders at Westminster.
He said: “You look around and you see what’s happened to us in other safe Tory areas.”
One of his deputies, Steve Bell, is the current favourite to take over although Councillor Janio declined to comment.
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