NEW Test Valley Borough Council leader Phil North has said he will not resign following criticism of comments he made in the aftermath of the terrorist bombing in Manchester.

The Conservative councillor has been slammed for labelling the suspension of general election campaigning in the wake of the attack as “bizarre” and “pathetic”.

Councillor North made the comments on social media site, Twitter, just a day after the suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena on 22 May, which killed 22 people and injured more than 50 others.

The comments were immediately criticised by Labour’s North West Hampshire parliamentary candidate Andy Fitchet, who questioned councillor North’s viewpoint.

The tweets also prompted an angry response from Andover resident Mark Brown, who labelled the 31-year-old as an “absolute disgrace” in a letter to the Advertiser.

He said: “In light of the appalling tragedy which unfolded at the Manchester Arena, the only thing bizarre and pathetic is him (Councillor North).

“It certainly didn’t take him long to show his true colours.

“He should be ashamed of himself and should resign immediately.”

The Conservative councillor, who only took over as leader of TVBC earlier this month, has since deleted the tweet in which he labelled the suspension of campaigning as “pathetic”.

Councillor North admitted it was the wrong choice of word, adding that he should have used the word “disappointing”.

However he has continued to defend his view on the matter.

In a letter of his own, Cllr North explained: “I thought it was disappointing that in allowing our election to be suspended for such a sustained period, we were suspending the exact democratic way of life that terrorists hate.

“Although the North West Hampshire Labour candidate criticised me for that point of view, it was a view I shared with, amongst others, experienced Labour MPs Mike Gapes and Ben Bradshaw.”