Labour has challenged a set of "frequently answered questions" issued by council officers about the role of Watford’s mayor.

The questions, published in last week’s Observer, outline the “benefits” of a directly elected mayor.

The future of the mayoralty is disputed by Labour, which has pledged to hold a referendum over whether to abolish the role.

Labour says endorsing the mayoral system breaches purdah - legal requirements governing officers’ political independence during election campaigns.

Cllr Jagtar Singh Dhindsa, Labour’s mayoral candidate, said he supported a referendum that might put him out of a job.

Labour has criticised the cost of the mayoral system, stating the mayor receives an annual allowance of £65,738 plus a travel allowance and pension.

He said: “If I am elected, I will reduce the cost of the mayoral office and take a pay cut.

“I am pledging a referendum on whether to keep the mayoralty or to move to leader and cabinet system. I am pledging a policy that may put me out of a job but this is democracy – I will let the people decide.”

Mike Jackson, Watford Labour’s Election Agent said: “Once again, council officers have published sensitive statements which overlap with the ruling Liberal Democrats’ policy of keeping the mayoralty.

This is not on. They should remain neutral, particularly during purdah.

“There is no evidence that the town is better run because it has an elected mayor, whereas there is clear evidence that the direct cost of the mayoralty at £210,000 is a burden than contributes to Watford levying the highest council tax of any district in Hertfordshire.

“There is a lack of accountability in the current system. The mayor cannot be removed by a vote of councillors and budget decisions can only be overturned by a two thirds vote.”

Manny Lewis, managing director of Watford Borough Council, said: “This is an unreasonable complaint.

“These FAQs were put together for the Watford Observer as the paper was keen to explain the upcoming mayoral election to their readers, including the role of the elected mayor.

"They are a genuine attempt to inform Watford voters and relay the fact that the elected mayor is an important role, this is an important election and voters are encouraged to vote. All these are legitimate messages and not designed to affect public support for a party."