Greenwich Council's new leader will be a woman, after Councillor Denise Hyland was elected in a tight vote by Labour members last night.

Cllr Hyland beat rival Jackie Smith - partner of former council leader Len Duvall - by just two votes at a Labour meeting.

It means Hyland, who represents Abbey Wood but lives in Eltham, will now take over from former council and Labour leader Chris Roberts, who has left the local authority after a string of controversies.

The former cabinet member for regeneration is heavily associated with the old administration's big projects, including the late-running refurbishment of Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels, along with the party's support for the Silvertown Tunnel project.

Her deputy will be Councillor John Fahy, who trounced his predecessor Peter Brooks in the voting.

The choice of Cllr Fahy, who had been sworn at by his former leader in a controversial voicemail and reportedly airbrushed out of Greenwich Time over a previous leadership challenge, appears to represent a break with the old administration's style of politics.

Former chief whip Ray Walker, seen as the old leader's right-hand man, lost his position to newcomer Stephen Brain by just one vote.

Elsewhere, Councillors Danny Thorpe, Matthew Morrow, Miranda Williams, Chris Kirby and Sizwe James are expected to join the cabinet.

Jackie Smith is also expected to retain her place.

Greenwich Labour tightened its hold on the council at last week's elections, taking three seats from the Tories.