The Labour Party's selection of a candidate to challenge for Bolton West is in strife after one applicant who missed the shortlist said it was 'a stitch-up'.

The party is in search of candidate to take on Chris Green and his majority of 8,855 – the biggest it has been since his appointment to the seat in 2015.

At the end of last week the party limited its search to a shortlist of three councillors – Croydon Council's Dr Manju Shahul-Hameed, Lancashire County Council's Sobia Malik and Manchester City Council's Phil Brickell.

But one applicant who missed the shortlist, Ryan Quick, said it was 'a stitch-up'. He suggested this list, and others, were manipulated by Labour HQ to promote those favoured by the central party rather than by the local party.

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Mr Quick, a self-proclaimed socialist who is 'born and bred' in Bolton and who lives in Horwich, said: "I share in the disappointment of this decision which, in many ways, was expected. 

"We witnessed the manipulation of selection processes across the country and I cannot claim to be surprised."

Mr Quick said Cllr Shahul-Hameed, Cllr Malik and Cllr Brickell should be 'ashamed' and 'embarrassed'.

He said: "I understand the disillusionment and frustration many members may feel. The manipulation of selection processes has left us questioning whether our party truly represents us.

"It's disheartening, especially considering other genuinely local candidates were overlooked in this process."

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The controversy comes after a similar situation in Bolton North East, a contest won by Kirith Entwistle, but not before controversy about the exclusion of Leigh Drennan, another self-proclaimed socialist, from the shortlist.

A Labour Party spokesperson said this list, and others, were administered "in accordance with procedures set by the National Executive Committee".

They said: "We’re really pleased to have three fantastic candidates on the shortlist with strong connections to the local community. Thanks to Keir Starmer's leadership, the Labour Party has put in place robust due diligence processes so candidates are of the highest calibre. 

"The Labour Party believes the public have a right to know everyone we put forward at election time is of a high standard."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.