A row has erupted after the governing body for the Labour Party overruled Watford Labour Party over its selection of the next parliamentary candidate.

Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) overturned Watford selection committee’s decision not to shortlist Mike Hedges - the chair of Unite’s London and East regional political committee - despite the fact he received a number of nominations.

Mr Hedges was the preferred candidate of Momentum - a grassroots campaigning group that backs Jeremy Corbyn, but was rejected at interview.

Members of the Watford selection committee wrote to the NEC to protest after they were ordered to place the senior union official on their final selection shortlist.

They said that in the meeting on November 26, Mr Hedges’ nomination had been given full consideration and that “all the interviews, discussions, and decisions were observed by both the regional representative and the NEC representative”.

The letter was signed by Sarah Flynn, Omar Ismail (procedures secretary), Ahsan Khan, Asif Khan, Linda Meehan and Sue Utting – demand that the original shortlist be reinstated.

Labour's previous candidate, Chris Ostrowski, brought Labour to within almost 2,000 votes of unseating Conservative MP Richard Harrington in June's general election, polling 24,639 votes to Mr Harrington's 26,731.

In the 2014 general election, Labour had polled 14,606 to the Conservatives' 24,400.