Hitler tweet: Coventry South candidate Michelle Lowe blasted
A tweet by a Conservative candidate showing Adolf Hitler hugging the public has been branded "disrespectful".
Michelle Lowe, Sevenoaks council's deputy leader, tweeted: "Politicians should go out and show emotion."
She said the intent of the tweet was to show "reserved people" still cared about the suffering of others.
Gary Ridley, the Tory leader in Coventry, where Ms Lowe stood in the general election, said he was "disturbed" by the tweet.
'Trivialises' Nazi crimes
Mr Ridley said: "I'm disturbed by any attempt to use Adolf Hitler to make a political point."
"He brought pain and suffering to the world on an unimaginable scale and was responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people.
"To evoke his memory in this way is disrespectful to those who suffered at the hands of this monster and trivialises the crimes of the Nazi regime.
"As Leader of the Conservative Party, in a city which still bears the scars of Nazi aggression, I'm disturbed by any attempt to use Adolf Hitler to make a political point."
This month Ms Lowe failed to get elected as Conservative parliamentary candidate in Coventry South.
"Michelle Lowe doesn't represent, or speak on behalf of, Coventry Conservatives. I'd urge her to reflect on her comments and apologise for any offence which she may have caused," Mr Ridley added.
Councillor Lowe, who represents Otford and Shoreham on Sevenoaks District Council, has responded to the criticism.
She said: "The purpose of the Tweet was not to cause offence but to point out that just because some people are reserved and not as able to be as familiar with strangers as others it does not mean they don't care about their suffering.
"I am sorry for any upset that may have been caused."
Twitter user Jennie Morley said she agreed with Ms Lowe.
"I think it's obvious what the message is: things aren't always what they seem. Good example!" she tweeted.
Ms Lowe was also challenged on social media about whether she was comparing Hitler to the opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn - who was pictured hugging people after the Grenfell Tower fire.
She replied: "I'm not comparing anyone to anyone. Just posted a tweet."
A spokesman for Shoreham and District Labour Party said: "To liken Mr Corbyn to Hitler, if that is what Councillor Lowe was doing, is inexcusable and possibly the worst insult she could make to a socialist.
"If it was some sort of joke, we find it in the very worst possible taste."
Sevenoaks District Council has yet to comment.