GREENWICH Council's refusal to speak to the Mayor of London's cycling commissioner, who controls a £900m budget, has been branded a "personal vendetta".

The council is the only London borough that refuses to speak to Andrew Gilligan, saying he has a conflict of interest as a local journalist who has written numerous articles on the area.

But critics say Greenwich will now potentially miss out on millions of pounds worth of cycling investment, all because many of Mr Gilligan's articles have been critical of the council's leadership.

At a meeting on July 31, Greenwich Conservatives put forward a motion calling for engagement with the commissioner, with Tory leader Councillor Spencer Drury labelling failure to do so "a dereliction of duty".

But, in farcical scenes, Labour members amended the motion, deleting any mention of Mr Gilligan and replacing it with statements about the borough's low number of casualties, their own aims on cycling and criticism of the mayor's focus on central and west London.

Tory deputy leader Councillor Nigel Fletcher said cyclists interests were being sacrificed for "this leader's ego and personal vendettas".

He said: "Wherever something is inconvenient to the party opposite, they chose to pretend it doesn't exist."

Leader Councillor Chris Roberts hit back, claiming the accusations were "bile" and that he had a good relationship with the Mayor of London and his team.

He said: "£930m is not left to one individual to sign off."

Speaking afterwards, Anthony Austin from the Greenwich Cyclists group said work was urgently needed to address the problems at Greenwich and Woolwich Foot Tunnels, while money could also be used to restore  the Thames Path west of the Barrier.

He said: "Greenwich Council is standing up and saying 'we're not going to talk to Mr Gilligan, we're getting the money anyway'. My understanding is, that's not the case.

"It's a completely political decision not to talk to the cycling commissioner. They should be able to rise above this."