A council candidate who was suspended from the Conservative Party has apologised for comparing Islam to Nazism.

Karen Sunderland, who now has to stand as an independent during her suspension and the party investigation, released a statement on Youtube.

She said: "Last year on Twitter, I put out some content on my account regarding my views about religious ideology, and some of my worries and some of my concerns about how I believe religious ideologies are impacting on our free society, our democracy, and on some of our hard-fought-for values and freedoms in the UK.

"What I do realise on reflection is that I chose some of my words poorly, and I want to sincerely apologise for any offence that I have caused. I’d also like to reassure you that I am not a hateful person.

"I believe there is a place for everybody in society, and I would hate to think that what I put out there contradicts that."

The Crofton Park candidate described the actions of the party as "necessary".

A December tweet read: " Love your optimism. The thing is, religion undermines the hard fought for values and tolerances of progressed countries...suppresses free speech and is auto immune from criticism. This is toxic and where the hostility comes from. Religion is totalitarian. Islam has become the new Nazism."

Her November tweet read: "...Parents will simply bang on about Islam and their rights blah blah blah. It confuses me so much why people with these views live in the West."

An October tweet seemed to ridicule wearing the hijab. IT read: "Such a lame attempt you made to justify hijabs. Self indulgent to think anyone would give a toot that you showed your hair."

She thanked those who had supported her during the scandal.