A Liberal Democrat politician has claimed he felt “humiliated” after he was "evicted" from a reception with Conservative leadership candidate Rishi Sunak.

Laurence Brass, a Hertfordshire county councillor for Bushey North, says he suffered “grave embarrassment” when he was asked to leave the event on Tuesday, despite accepting a personal invitation to attend.

Lord Dolar Popat, who hosted the reception at his home in Stanmore, says it was a private event for Conservative members and admitted Cllr Brass had been invited by “mistake”. The Tory life peer says he has since apologised to the councillor.

The invitation, which was emailed to Cllr Brass on Sunday, read: “I hope that you can join the reception and have the opportunity to meet and hear about Rishi’s vision for the country.”

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Watford Observer: Rishi Sunak MP, pictured speaking at an event in Kent, was in attendance at the lunchtime reception at Lord Popat's home on Tuesday. Credit: PARishi Sunak MP, pictured speaking at an event in Kent, was in attendance at the lunchtime reception at Lord Popat's home on Tuesday. Credit: PA

When Cllr Brass and North Bushey Lib Dem ward councillor Alan Matthews, who was also invited, arrived on Tuesday, they were welcomed and given a drink – but after ten minutes, they were approached by security.

In an email to Lord Popat afterwards, Cllr Brass wrote: “I was quietly minding my own business when I was aggressively evicted from your home whilst being observed by many guests including yourself.”

A retired judge and former vice president of the Board of Deputies, Cllr Brass could not recall in his “long experience of public life being subjected to such a humiliating experience” implying it looked like he had “gate-crashed”. He requested a full apology.

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Watford Observer: Cllr Laurence BrassCllr Laurence Brass

The councillor believed the invitation was genuine, telling the Watford Observer: “I thought they were inviting leading local politicians to hear a potential future Prime Minister and was honoured to be invited. It was a nice personal note that I received.”

Lord Popat told the Observer: “Regrettably due to an administrative error, invites had gone out to a small number of non-Conservative members. It was only when Cllr Brass and Cllr Matthews arrived that other party members made me aware of their political affiliation.

“They were subsequently advised that they were invited by mistake and politely requested to leave in the circumstances. There was no objection from them at the time.

“I have subsequently apologised to Cllr Brass and Cllr Matthews. Despite our political differences, I am aware of the tremendous civic duty they conduct for the local community.”

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