London Mayor Ken Livingstone yesterday won the quashing of his four-week suspension from office for likening a Jewish reporter to a Nazi concentration guard.

Mr Justice Collins said the suspension would be overturned, regardless of whether or not the Mayor won his appeal against the Adjudication Panel for England's finding that he had breached the Greater London Authority's code of conduct by making the jibe.

The judge said: "I have made it clear the suspension will be quashed whatever I decide on whether the panel's finding was correct."

The judge reserved his final judgment on Mr Livingstone's appeal to a later date.

During the two-day hearing at the High Court in London, Mr Livingstone's lawyers argued that the panel's decision, made in February, was legally flawed on a number of grounds, including the fact that the Mayor had not been acting in his official capacity at the time of the incident.

Mr Livingstone's counsel, James Maurici, told Mr Justice Collins the "Nazi" incident took place while the Mayor was off duty and attending a reception at City Hall to mark 20 years since former Culture Secretary Chris Smith became Britain's first openly-gay MP.

Evening Standard newspaper reporter Oliver Finegold and a photographer were "doorstepping" the event, attempting to interview guests as they left the function.

On being repeatedly asked a question after indicating that he did not wish to be interviewed, Mr Livingstone asked Mr Finegold, who was accompanied by a photographer, whether he had ever been a "German war criminal".

On hearing that Mr Finegold was Jewish, the Mayor likened him to a Nazi concentration camp guard.

The newspaper did not consider the incident of sufficient importance to report the matter, but a complaint was made by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

The panel found him guilty of making remarks that were "unnecessarily insensitive and offensive".

Even before the start of the hearing, expected to last three to four days, Mr Livingstone faced a legal bill estimated to have topped £80,000. But he has vowed to fight all the way to the House of Lords.