A councillor is "extremely saddened" he has been forced out of the Conservative group for his controversial Facebook comments.

Councillor Chris Joannides had the whip permanently withdrawn on Monday evening after posts on his social networking page, which linked Muslim children wearing burqas to bin bags, were branded anti-Islamic.

The Grange representative claims the comments were taken out of context, and were meant to be "tongue in the cheek" and "blokeish banter" with friends, and that he intended no disrespect.

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