A Plymouth councillor who threw a Nazi salute during a council meeting has been suspended from the Labour group.
Councillor Jonny Morris, ward member for Southway, said he became “angry”.
As Conservative and UKIP councillors were asked one by one for their vote for recording purposes, Cllr Morris outstretched his arm in the style of a Nazi salute in the direction of opposing members, prompting outrage in the chamber.
Many councillors voiced their disgust and immediately called for him to apologise.
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Among them was Councillor Nick Kelly, who described the act as “absolutely appalling”.
After being invited to do so by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Pauline Murphy, Cllr Morris apologised to the council.
In a statement issued after the meeting, he said: “I was very angry at the closing down of debate on Plymouth’s budget by the UKIP/Tory ruling group.
“I let that anger get the better of me, and made an inappropriate and offensive gesture.
“I apologise unreservedly.”
Leader of the council, Cllr Ian Bowyer, said the act could be considered a hate crime and was “totally unacceptable”.
He said: “I think the council’s monitoring officer will doubtless wish to investigate further – there are potentially serious consequences here.
“Although Cllr Morris apologised for his behaviour in my opinion this constitutes hate crime, which is totally unacceptable.”
He added: “I cannot ever recall such an uncontrolled outburst in the council chamber. It besmirches the reputation of public office.”
Tudor Evans, leader of the Plymouth Labour group confirmed that Cllr Morris had been suspended while the matter was investigated.
“The whips are now looking into the matter,” he said.
“Obviously we take this very seriously.”
Read more in the Plymouth Herald