BASILDON Council’s deputy leader has sparked outrage after claiming the EU are “just as bad as the Nazis”.

Independent councillor Kerry Smith made the controversial claim during a council meeting.

After making the comparison he added: “We voted to leave the fourth Reich to become a sovereign nation”.

His comments have been criticised.

Speaking after the meeting former mayor David Dadds said: “I simply couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

“It’s completely inappropriate and it’s abhorrent to make such a comment. He’s implying that the EU support the Nazis.

“He’s also implying that remainers are supporters of the fourth Reich. There are victims of the holocaust that he’s completely ignored.

“For a council that’s meant to be open and inclusive, it’s shocking.”

Councillor Phil Turner added: “It was absolutely outrageous.

“We sat there aghast. There’s no place for it in our community.

“Kerry is known for it. He knew it would be controversial and cause a stir.”

Others have also raised concerns about the comparison.

Jeffrey Greenstein, former chairman of Aid Society, a Jewish charity in south Essex, said: “People will find it offensive.

“He’s venting his anger in the worst way possible. He’s using the worst insult possible. The Nazi’s were horrendous.”

But Mr Smith was unrepentant claiming all his critics “want to remain” and added: “Everyone around here knows I’m a Brexiteer.

“The EU want to take over Europe, just like the Nazis.

“They are dissolving sovereign states. It’s so frustrating, we just want Brexit to happen.”

Basildon Council refused to comment.