A disgraced councillor has been removed from his position after being jailed for making threats towards a council leader and Workington MP Mark Jenkinson.

Allerdale Council has confirmed that Peter Little will be "automatically disqualified as a councillor with immediate effect" after he was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison yesterday.

A by-election will now be held to fill the empty seat.

Little, who represented Maryport South on the council, was jailed at Workington Magistrates' Court yesterday, after pleading guilty to sending an offensive message.

He had sent a threatening email to Allerdale Council's chief executive, Andrew Seekings, on September 4, which said: "You and the MP are f*****."

A spokesman for Allerdale Council said: "Peter Little yesterday received a custodial prison sentence of 6 weeks to run consecutively with an existing suspended sentence of 12 weeks. We have had confirmation that he is now therefore serving an 18 week sentence. This means that under S80 of the Local Government Act 1972, Peter is automatically disqualified as a councillor with immediate effect.

"The council must by law start the process to run a by election to fill the vacant seat and the electoral services team has today published the notice of vacancy which can be found on the council's website."

Little, 37, of Grasmere Terrace, Maryport, had been on a suspended prison sentence after being convicted on August 24 of a number of public order offences, including the homophobic abuse of police officers.

Passing sentence, district judge Mark Hadfield said that threats towards public servants were treated "very seriously" making reference to the recent killing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess.