The leader of Harrogate Borough Council has been suspended from the Conservative Party after being photographed dressed as Adolf Hitler.
Mike Gardner, who was pictured giving a Nazi salute at a fancy dress party, said he had done "nothing wrong". He has vowed to remain as leader of the Conservative-controlled council, serving as an independent. Conservative Party headquarters said he had been suspended pending an investigation into his conduct.
Asked why he had chosen to wear the Nazi-style uniform, Mr Gardner said: "It's one of those situations, you had to be there. There was nothing wrong, it was just good fun. I was at a fancy dress party, it was nothing more."
He said the Conservative Party's decision to suspend him had been "very improper".
The images were taken from a Facebook page, which Mr Gardner said was a "total violation of my privacy".
He said: "I am a councillor who represents the people, politics is not my thing, serving the people is my game. I am disgusted about what the Conservatives have decided to do. I serve the people of Harrogate and serve them very well actually. If I have gone wrong I will apologise now to the people of Harrogate, if I have offended them in any way."
A council spokesman confirmed that Mr Gardner was still leader but nobody from the local authority was available for further comment on Friday.