A CONTROVERSIAL Thurrock councillor has come in for more criticism after he shared a platform with a former civil servant, once suspended amid claims he justified the killing of British troops in Iraq.

Aaron Kiely, a Labour ward councillor for Ockendon, chaired the "Rise of Islamophobia" event at the School of Oriental and African Studies on Wednesday, November 20.

He was joined by Azad Ali, a former civil servant at the treasury, who is said to have links with the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe.

Mr Ali was suspended by the treasury for six months in 2009 for comments made on a blog. While an internal investigation by the treasury found no wrongdoing, Mr Ali lost a libel case against the Mail On Sunday - who broke the story.

Judge Justice Eady concluded at the trial in January 2010: "I would hold that the claimant was indeed, in November, 2008, and for so long as the blog remained available, taking the position that the killing of American and British troops in Iraq would be justified by his middle or 'balanced' interpretation of jihad."

In 2010, Mr Ali was filmed by an undercover reporter from Channel 4's Dispatches stating: "Democracy, if it means not implementing the sharia, of course nobody agrees with that."

In the last 18 months, Kiely - who is also NUS Black Students' Officer - has come under fire for his poor attendance record at council meetings, for publicly backing radical cleric Abu Qatada and for not making a single call on his council phone.

In March, Kiely attended a full council meeting only to vote against his own party's budget, decrying cuts made by the Conservative government.

Colin Cortbus, an anti-extremism analyst for standforpeace.org.uk said: "Cllr Aaron Kiely's latest antics undermine democratic values and the tolerant principles of the Labour Party.

"His time would be much better spent actually attending council meetings rather than extremist-linked events featuring vile bigots. The views of these bigots are absolutely at odds with the tolerant views held by the vast majority of British Muslims. It is high time for John Kent to take some party disciplinary action."