GREENWICH Council's leader went on an away day with his cabinet after Lee Rigby was killed in Woolwich - missing visits by the Prime Minister and London's mayor.

Both David Cameron and Boris Johnson visited John Wilson Street and later met with community leaders on May 23, the day after the attack, but Councillor Chris Roberts was not present.

Instead MP for Woolwich and Greenwich Nick Raynsford was left to meet the visitors and give interviews to the world's media.

News Shopper understands that several cabinet members had urged a postponement of the pre-planned away day in the light of May 22's events, subsequent terrorism investigation and heightened community tensions.

But Cllr Roberts - who released a powerful statement on the day of the killing - insisted on holding the event, an occasional exercise where cabinet members discuss policy matters.

On the evening of Mr Rigby's death itself and as members of the English Defence League arrived to demonstrate in Woolwich, the council's mayoral inauguration ceremony also went ahead as planned at the Old Royal Naval College.

Deputy leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Nigel Fletcher said of that decision: "I know there was some discussion about whether it was appropriate to continue with the mayor-making on the night of the murder. 

"I had some concerns, and it was a tough call, but on balance I think there was merit in community leaders, including faith groups, showing unity and defiance. 

"The event began with a tribute from Cllr Roberts that I thought was appropriate and rather moving."

Cllr Fletcher said he had also attended the community meeting with the Prime Minister on May 23, which was called "at short notice by Nick Raynsford".

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: "We are deeply shocked by the tragic incident by the barracks in Woolwich and our thoughts and condolences go out to Drummer Lee Rigby’s friends and family.

"The council is playing a major role in coordinating the response to the incident whilst it continues to carry out its business as usual. We firmly believe that residents living in our borough would expect nothing less and we will never give in to acts of terrorism.

"While we were not surprised the Prime Minister wished to visit the area to see the site for himself and thank the police and emergency services for their work, the council was not asked to join the visit and would not have expected to be."

During the Duke of Edinburgh's visit to the Cutty Sark this week, Cllr Roberts said: "We want to grieve as a family and be left alone – so I hope it is not too long before the media feel they have taken enough photos."