The mayor of Liverpool has stepped aside following his arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation.
Joe Anderson said he was “stepping away from decision-making” and would take unpaid leave while the investigation continued.
He said his arrest on Friday was a “painful shock” and he believed “time would make it clear that I have no case to answer”.
He was released on conditional bail.
In a statement, Mr Anderson said: “I have always done what I believe is best for the city, and I am taking the following action with those best intentions in mind.”
He said it was “important” that everyone in Liverpool knew leaders were “focussed on what is most important to the people, their livelihoods and, with a pandemic still in force, their lives”.
He added: “For this reason, I believe it is important that the city, and government, are reassured that our city is indeed operating in the correct way.
“I am, therefore, stepping away from decision-making within the council through a period of unpaid leave, until the police make clear their intentions with the investigation on the 31 December.”