A VETERAN councillor has admitted he made a “stupid” and “totally out of order” remark at a Holocaust memorial event.

Middlesbrough Councillor for Kader Ron Arundale confessed he made the comment “six or seven years ago” following an event at Teesside University.

The 75-year-old said he felt regret at the “out of order” aside after allegations emerged in a heated email exchange between himself and Nunthorpe councillor Jon Rathmell.

Cllr Arundale said his “extremely bad taste” remark was out of order – with an email to councillors confirming what had transpired at the time.

He summarised the incident by saying his comments related to a crossword clue for which the answer was Adolf Hitler.

Cllr Arundale, an independent and the authority's Armed Forces champion, said: “It was totally out of order – I don’t mean it and I don’t mean any malice in it. I’ve no axe to grind with the Jewish people – it was a stupid remark. I regret it but I’m not going to try and lie about it.

“That’s it – and if I have to take stick, I take stick – that’s it.”

Cllr Arundale is the council’s Armed Forces Champion and also held the post between 2012 and 2016.

Cllr Arundale recently left the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association and said he would not resign his seat.

The former Conservative stood as an independent in last year’s election to retain his Kader seat.

Cllr Arundale confirmed he had recently stepped down from the Middlesbrough Independent Councillors Association (MICA) – citing differences with the leadership despite feeling loyalty to some members of the group.

He said he had forgotten about the incident and had “owned up” to it.

“If anybody is unhappy with their relationship with me as a result of it, I can live with that – if you do something wrong, that’s fair enough,” said Cllr Arundale.

However, the independent member confirmed he would not be resigning after the comments emerged.

He said: “They won’t be asking for me to resign for the right reasons.

“Some people will be asking for me to resign out of pure malice, and others will for their own political advantage.

“I intend to fight for the causes I believe in.”

Cllr Arundale said he had been “on the edge” of leaving the MICA group for a long time but had stayed in loyalty to certain members of the group.

He indicated he would be “staying on his own” for now and “not taking his baggage” to any other group.

It is understood Cllr Rathmell has stepped down as leader of the MICA group – with Newport Cllr Barrie Cooper taking temporary charge.