A SENIOR Tory councillor has quit the day after he called David Miliband a w****r on Twitter.

Coun David Potts, the South Tyneside Conservative leader who represents the Cleadon and East Boldon ward, attacked Mr Miliband on the social networking site after it was announced the former Foreign Secretary was in talks to become a non-executive vice-chairman at Sunderland football club.

But Mr Potts insisted today that the decision to quit had no link to the Twitter row.

In a statement today, the councillor says that he is a recovering alcoholic.

He said: "It is with a deep sense of both relief and regret that I resign with immediate effect from South Tyneside Council, the Conservative Party and frontline politics.

"It will come as no surprise to many of you that I am a recovering alcoholic. I recognise that public life is of no benefit to my recovery, and in turn I am of no benefit to public life. I must step aside.

"I've fought many opponents in my political career. Alas, the biggest one was always staring me in the face. I have always failed to beat alcohol.

"I have represented the people of Cleadon and East Boldon since I was 21 years of age. I will always have a great passion for our villages and, indeed, our borough.

"However, it is now my focus to concentrate on saving my life and helping other alcoholics within our region to deal with this evil illness in a constructive way. There is hope for all of us.

"If you have found yourself in the firing line of my disgraceful behaviour, then I apologise unreservedly."

The councillor yesterday took criticism from all sides of the political divide after the comments he posted on Twitter.

The site said: "Miliband takes on Sunderland football role. If I knew he was that cheap I would have offered him 50k years ago. What a w****r."

He went on to say the MP was a "cab for hire, just like (former Minister Stephen) Byers" and even sent an open message to Mr Miliband over the site offering him 1,000 cash to 'teach his girlfriend to cook'.

A Conservative Party spokesman said of yesterday's comments: "Football often raises strong emotions, but language like this is clearly unacceptable in political debate."