THE councillor who called Britain a "junior partner" in the Second World War is facing calls to resign.

Cllr Kevin McKeon made the comments during a debate about Brexit at a council meeting on January 23.

A video of his speech started circulating on social media days after and a petition calling on him to resign from his paid role at Bolton at Home now has more than 500 signatures.

The Labour chief whip who is vice-chair of the housing association defended his comments but admitted they may have been "unwise".

Since then he has received abusive emails from members of the public demanding his resignation as a councillor.

However, the Horwich North East councillor said he was "extremely grateful" of the many supportive emails he received, including from ex-servicemen.

He said: “Some people think I have defamed the memory of those men and women who fought in the War. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those who served between 1939 to 1945 and to this day do so braver and with honour.”

Cllr McKeon's mentioned that his father was in the Navy and served in submarines in the Mediterranean, Far East and the Arctic.

He added: “As a boy I loved hearing his stories of the War but remember that only a few of those stories were about conflict; mainly they were about his comrades and, amazingly, the good times they had in places like Alexandria and Aden.

“On Remembrance Sunday I remember my father and those friends he spoke of, whose names come back to me even though I never met them. The men of that generation formed the greatest Citizen’s Army in our country’s history and served their country bravely and with honour. They fought and gave their lives defending our country and its values, that include free speech, tolerance and the pursuit of truth."

"At present we are going through a tempestuous and traumatic period in our history. As someone who studied History at University I am very interested in the role the interpretation of history is playing in the current debate about our future. It was in that context that I made the comments I did.”

Chris Banks who uploaded the video on the Bolton Clowncil Facebook page also set up the petition calling on him to resign.

He said: "In light of his refusal to apologise, I felt it was appropriate that his views shouldn't be used to represent Bolton At Home tenants like myself, and therefore I created a petition to ask Bolton At Home to remove him from his paid role."

He said that his Facebook page does not condone sending threatening or abusive emails.