The Liberal Democrats have been accused of producing “misleading propaganda” after sending out letters appearing to be from a “polling and elections expert” .

The letter by Mike Smithson, a former member of the party, claims that the contest in Watford is between the Conservatives and Lib Dems and urges people to vote tactically.

Only at the bottom of the letter in very small print does it say that the letter was produced on behalf of the party.

The letter states: “The Liberal Democrats have the best chance to win seats from the Conservatives, keeping them from a majority.

“But only if enough Labour supporters back the Liberal Democrats this time.

It adds: “I’m not here to tell you who to vote for, but I hope this information is useful to you when making a decision in this election.”

The letter also claims that pro-Remain tactical voting website Best For Britain shows “nearly 200 seats across the UK could be decided by Labour supporters voting tactically for the Liberal Democrats”.

The website currently recommends that people in Watford vote Labour on Thursday.

One voter who lives in Watford said she “could not believe what I was reading” after she opened the letter.

Jenny Barton, 59, from Watford, continued: “When I read the Lib Dems are only fighting the Tories I just thought this was news to me.

“Most tactical voting sites say it is between Labour and the Tories.

“But when I saw the small print I thought it was just some kind of propaganda, but I think the letter is misleading since it is not true.

“People may be unfairly swayed and think they should vote for the Lib Dems.”

In 2017, Labour candidate Chris Ostrowski finished 2,000 votes behind MP Richard Harrington, while the Lib Dems were a further 21,000 behind.

Mr Ostrowski said the Lib Dems had been “deceitful and misleading” with the letter.

He said: “It is clear that by sending on misinformation, by letter and leaflet, what the Lib Dems are up to. They have been found out and are desperate to stop Labour winning because they know they can’t win themselves.

“All tactical voting websites back me as the candidate to beat the Tories here in Watford and they are right.”

When approached for comment, the Lib Dems said: “The leaflet has a clear imprint stating it is published by the Liberal Democrats.

“As is stated repeatedly in the letter, in these constituencies, Liberal Democrat success depends on Labour voters lending us their vote.”