A CODE which aims to restrict council papers like Greenwich Time coming out more than four times a year has been passed by Parliament.

Greenwich Time, referred to as Pravda by some of its critics, comes out every week and is designed like a newspaper, featuring a reviews section and sports pages.

The Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity approved last week in both the House of Commons and Lords is not compulsory.

But it means publications like Greenwich Council’s paper could be referred to a district auditor by residents if it breaks the rules.

These include council papers being published more than quarterly and publications including information other than on the business, services and amenities of the council and service providers.

During the Lords debate, director of the Telegraph Media Group Lord Black labelled Greenwich Time “local authority propaganda” and said such publications “masquerade as local newspapers”.

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Councillor Spencer Drury said: “I’m pretty disappointed the code hasn’t made absolutely clear that publications like Greenwich Time should not be allowed.”

He added: “Other councils are responding by cutting back the number of issues. That isn’t ideal but we could live with that.

“But I do think it’s wrong the council should be putting out this propaganda on a regular basis.”

Neighbouring Lewisham Council has already reduced the number of times its Lewisham life magazine comes out, making it a quarterly publication instead of monthly.

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said: "Greenwich Council is currently considering the recommendations set out in the new code of publicity.

"A decision will be taken in due course."