A Watford Labour councillor has been backed the local party chairman after it emerged he was a senior member of the radical Islamist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Yesterday the Watford Observer revealed that Asif Khan, a representative of Leggatts ward, sat on the group’s executive and penned hard-line articles for its Khilafah magazine.

In articles and a pamphlet written between 2003 and 2004 Councillor Khan argued Muslims should not engage in UK politics and work to establish Islam in non-Islamic states.

The 36-year-old has said he joined the organisation in the early 2000s as he was angry at the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but has since completely rejected it ideology since leaving in 2007.

Councillor Khan joined the Watford Labour Party in 2010 and was elected to Watford Borough Council in 2011.

Mike Jackson, the chairman of the Watford Labour Party, said he was not aware of Councillor Khan’s involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir until this week.

He said after discussing the matter with Councillor Khan, who he described as "a highly respected and hard working local councillor", he was satisfied he no longer held hard-line views.

However, the matter will be discussed by the party’s executive next month.

Mr Jackson said: "Insofar as I am aware, we did not know about his involvement with this group until last week. I arranged to meet with Asif after he made me aware of this pamphlet to discuss this with him.

"I am satisfied that the all the views he expressed in this pamphlet including that Muslims should not engage with UK political parties are completely different from the views he holds today. The context is that the pamphlet was written in the wake of the Iraq war in 2004, when the leaders of all three main UK political parties were supporting the war.

"The matter will be discussed by the executive committee of Watford Labour Party at its next regular meeting in December and I am confident that they will continue to hold Asif in the same high regard that they have always done."