A TORY by-election candidate accused of sharing sick Nazi themed memes, anti-immigrant jokes and showing support for far-right demonstrations on his social media feeds has apologised saying he was only 19 at the time.

However Richard Cunningham, who is fighting the Smithwick by-election in Falmouth following the death of Candy Atherton, said he was still standing for election to serve his community.

Richard Cunningham said: “I want to apologise for sharing these posts. I was 19 years old at the time but I realise they are totally inappropriate. I’m now older and wiser and am standing for election to serve my community.”

Mr Cunningham was accused of posting a picture of a man in a Nazi uniform saying ‘I wear your Grandad’s clothes’ in 2014 with the tag “Political correctness be damned – this made me chuckle too much” then reposting it in 2015 in his memories saying “Apparently I was just as sick and twisted 365 days ago as I am today.”

He was also accused of reposting anti immigrant and white privilege posts.

Mr Cunningham has been out campaigning in the streets of Smithwick ward this month with local MPs including Cornish MPs Sarah Newton, Derek Thomas, Scott Mann and Sheryl Murray.

A Conservative Party spokesperson for Cunningham’s campaign issued a brief statement earlier to Cornish Stuff, the website which broke the story, saying: “While we accept that these posts were made in bad taste, we also note that they are not Richard’s words, and were shared from other social media accounts or sites. These shares, taken from his personal and private account, were made over two years ago, before Richard was a member of the Conservative Party, and before he had considered running for elected office.”