Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich's resignation from the council has been labelled as 'breathtaking arrogance'.

Matthew Pennycook resigned as councillor for Greenwich West yesterday (March 16) with immediate effect ahead of the election in May.

Mr Pennycook cited the reason for his resignation was to avoid the cost of having a by-election after the General Election.

He tweeted: "This morning I handed the chief executive and leader of @Royal_Greenwich my letter of resignation from the council with effect from today."

Mr Pennycook added: "It's been an enormous privilege to have served the residents of Greenwich West ward over the past five years.

"I'm incredibly proud of what we've been able to achieve together and hope to have the chance to continue to serve the area in the years ahead."

Councillor Matt Hartley, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich, criticised Mr Pennycook for treating Greenwich and Woolwich voters with 'contempt'.

He said: "I think resigning as a councillor on the presumption you are about to get voted in as the MP shows breathtaking arrogance.

"This decision shows he is just another part of the same Labour Party political machine that treats voters with contempt.

"Matt Pennycook might think this is a safe seat that he can take for granted - but I am determined not to let that happen."

Mr Pennycook served as a councillor for Greenwich West from 2010 and was selected as Labour's parliamentary candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich to replace the retiring Nick Raynsford in November 2013.

Mr Pennycook has not appeared at any Greenwich Council meetings this year.