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Hamza tweets land councillor in hot water
5:44pm Tuesday 9th October 2012 in News
THURROCK Council’s ruling Labour group has finally lost patience with controversial councillor Aaron Kiely – after he sent Tweets appearing to support Islamic hate cleric Abu Hamza.
Ockendon Cllr Kiely – who has been maligned by opposition councillors for this poor attendance record at council meetings – took to Twitter to criticise the “shame” of the Government for “deporting British citizens to the bastion of human rights that is the USA”, together with a link to an article about Hamza’s extradition.
Now Labour councillors are set to instigate disciplinary action against their colleague, although they stressed it was for a cumulation of incidents and not just the Hamza episode.
Cllr John Kent, leader of Thurrock Council, stressed: “We have been concerned about Aaron’s attendance at council meetings and some aspects of his behaviour and commitment to the council for some time.
“As Aaron is a very young man, we have been giving him every help and support we can.
“However, it has now become necessary for us to instigate disciplinary action and it would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.”
The council’s Conservative group immediately seized upon the controversy.
Ockendon Tory Cllr Barry Johnson said “It’s grotesque Cllr Kiely thinks it’s inappropriate to deport a convicted terrorist to the USA to face further terrorism charges.
“This is a man found with a terrorist encyclopaedia and who allegedly said he was “happy, jumping up and down” over the September 11 tragedy.
“These views do not represent the people of Ockendon and they do not represent the people of Thurrock. The Labour leadership should be doing more to keep their loose cannon councillor under control.”
Cllr Kiely has long been a target for the Tories for his attendance record at council meetings, which at 33 per cent is the lowest for any councillor at the authority.
At the last full council meeting, Cllr Ben Maney jokingly asked if Mr Kiely was ill, saying: “I’d like some assurance about the health of Cllr Kiely, we are all very concerned on this side of the chamber.”
He also landed himself in hot water last August when he tweeted about the London riots.
The student said it was “difficult to dismiss people at these protests as violent thugs” as there were “huge and complex problems with poverty and police racism”.
He later apologised.