A NEWLY elected Redbridge councillor is set to resign his seat after it was revealed he was ineligible to stand for office in the borough.

A by-election is due to be called in Chadwell ward after it emerged that Labour councillor Mark Gittens - who took the seat from the Lib Dems on May 7 with 1,949 votes - is a teacher at Wanstead High School, a council employee, and therefore not allowed to stand for office in Redbridge.

Mr Gittens, a science teacher at the school in Redbridge Lane West, said: "I was completely transparent about myself during the campaign which can be seen from the leaflets that were handed out.

"No-one would dispute that I fought the seat fairly. Obviously mistakes were made. People make mistakes, but these things happen in life.

"It's obviously a disappointment after winning so well.

"I did my best and that's it really."

Mr Gittens is required to resign in writing before a by-election date can be arranged - a step he is expected to take during the next 24-hours.

Senior Labour group members have expressed embarrassment following the revelation, but insist it was an 'innocent error.'

New Labour leader Bob Littlewood, said: "We take collective responsibility for this error.

"We all had the guidance on this so no one person can be blamed. Unfortunately on this occasion that information was overlooked.

"It was a big, innocent error. We can only apologise for what has happened."

Lib Dem councillor Richard Hoskins described the mix-up as 'irresponsible.'

He said: "This is a basic error. It's obvious a council employee is not allowed to stand for election.

"Whether Labour expected to win the seat or not, it was irresponsible for them to put up a candidate who is ineligible.

"Now the people of Chadwell will have to go through another election. Let's hope Labour treats them with more respect and more care this time."