GREENWICH Council's leader Councillor Chris Roberts has announced he will stand down at the next local elections.

Cllr Roberts, who has been leader for 13 years, made the announcement in an email to colleagues on Monday (Feb 4).

In it, he claimed that he had intended to stand down in 2010, but had hung on after securing the Olympics and royal borough status.

Cllr Roberts, who was challenged for the leadership last year, will stay in the role until the end of his term in 2014.

It is rumoured he may then run for Parliament at the next general election.

Cllr Roberts said in his email: "Nothing I do in the future will be as rewarding or as interesting as the challenge and enjoyment of public service in Greenwich and nothing will give me greater pride."

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Spencer Drury said Cllr Roberts had been very supportive when his daughter fell seriously ill in 2006.

He said: "From a personal point of view I would probably have dropped off the council some time ago if it wasn't for Chris."

Cllr Drury went on: "Obviously he's very single-minded but privately I've always found him to be possible to deal with."

And Councillor John Fahy, who challenged for the leadership in 2012, said: "Chris has made the utmost contribution to the borough during the time he has spent as leader.

"Any decisions I might have made in the past were not about him as a person. I hold him in the highest esteem for what he's done.

"His legacy will last for generations."

Councillor Maureen O'Mara said: "You know you ask for comments from our press office."

Click here for the full text of Councillor Roberts' letter.