Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and the Liberal Democrats have attacked plans for a new hospital in west Hertfordshire – but failed to mention that a Lib Dem councillor was a leading figure in the campaign.

When Momentum - a grassroots organisation set up in the wake of Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader – endorsed the New Hospital Campaign, the Mayor and the Lib Dems interpreted it as an attack on Watford.

SEE ALSO: Mayor Thornhill and Lib Dems lash out after Momentum backs hospital petition

The petition called for a new hospital to replace Watford General Hospital because plans to improve the site in Vicarage Road were "unsustainable".

Mayor Thornhill said she “wasn’t surprised” that the leader’s “fan club” was trying to move the hospital to a different part of Hertfordshire and Watford Borough councillor Glenn Saffery said Labour had opposed decisions that “secure the hospital’s future”.

But a leading figure in the New Hospital Campaign, which has more than 10,200 signatures online, is a Liberal Democrat councillor for Berkhamsted, Gordon Yearwood.

At a meeting in February, cllr Yearwood led an outline business case for a “super-hospital” that would replace Watford General.

Speaking at the meeting, he said: “Watford is now the only remaining acute hospital in west Herts – but it is in the wrong place. We need the right service in the right place, at the right time.”

Although a site was not put forward, the plans championed a hospital that was equidistant from Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead.

Alex Charlton, a member of Watford Momentum, said Liberal Democrats need to be clear about their stance on the hospital.

He said: “The fact that a Lib Dem councillor is a leading figure in the campaign is in contradiction with Mayor Dorothy Thornhill’s opposition to said proposal.

“This apparent rift in the Liberal Democrats should be of concern to the people of Watford, who have a right to know whether or not the Liberal Democrats intend to scrap Watford General Hospital.”

But Momentum Watford, who endorsed the campaign via Twitter, has now also disassociated itself from the petition.

Speaking to the Observer, Mr Charlton said the party supported the campaign under a “mistaken belief” and that the plans were “unsafe and unnecessary”.

A tweet backing the campaign has subsequently been deleted.

He said: “The original tweet sharing the petition was made under the mistaken belief that the hospital facilities would supplement, rather than replace the acute hospital facilities in Watford.

“We oppose the replacement of hospital facilities in Watford and wish to disassociate ourselves from the petition.

“A town with Watford’s population needs acute hospital facilities, and Momentum supports the proper provision of hospital and other health care services.

“Replacing Watford General Hospital with a hospital to cover Hemel Hempstead, St. Albans and Watford is unsafe and unnecessary.”

Watford Liberal Democrats and Gordon Yearwood have been contacted for a comment.