An Essex Liberal Democrat councillor has denied claims that his recent resignation was linked to a row over his council-owned laptop, which was said to be storing explicit gay pornographic images.

Peter Wilcock, a councillor for the district of Newport in Uttlesford, resigned in January after inappropriate images were found on his council-owned laptop. The council claimed they included “explicit” gay pornographic videos.

John Mitchell, the chief executive for Uttlesford, said: “Peter Wilcock chose to resign as a councillor after being asked to account for the discovery of a large amount of gay pornographic material – including videos featuring explicit sex acts – on a Uttlesford District Council-owned laptop which had been in his possession. The material came to light when the laptop was handed to the council’s IT department by Mr Wilcock to be repaired.”

Mr Wilcock denied the images were the cause of his resignation as councillor, a role he had held for 18 years. He said his relocation to London had meant he could not carry out council duties to a high enough standard.

He also denied that there were explicit videos on the laptop, as Mr Mitchell claimed, stating that there were only non-explicit nudes of his male partner.

He said: “At one point I had a problem with my personal computer. It crashed and I tried to recover the files on it by transferring them to my council laptop. I had years of family pictures on my computer which I did not want to lose, so I did the pragmatic thing by trying to save them on my council laptop.

“Unfortunately, within these many files, there were some pictures of my male partner. They were not pornographic, as has been claimed, but he was naked.”

A by-election for Mr Wilcock’s former seat will be held on May 2.

Tory councillor Simon Renwick was suspended for six months after more than 1,000 gay porn images were found on his laptop.

In 2012 a Catholic priest managed to project pornographic gay images to a room of primary school parents, instead of a presentation on Holy Communion. The investigation into the incident was hindered by the theft of his laptop.