Labour launches probe after party loses council seat following 'Corbynite takeover'
Labour officials have launched an investigation after the party lost its only seat on a local council after failing to field a candidate in a crunch by-election.
Critics blamed a "Corbynite takeover" of the Totnes constituency Labour party for the bizarre mix-up.
Liberal Democrat John Birch won the by-election after his supposed Labour rival, Alex Mockridge, had to run as an independent because she has been a member of the party for less than a year.
She ended up being pushed into third place by the Green party, meaning Labour no longer have any seats on South Hams District Council.
Two other 'Labour' candidates standing for the local town council also had to stand as independents for the same reason.
It has been claimed that the local Labour branch has been taken over by left-wing activists loyal to Jeremy Corbyn.
A Labour party spokeswoman said: "We are deeply concerned that no candidate was selected by the local party to represent Labour, and we are making immediate inquiries as to why this happened."
Exeter MP and former minister Ben Bradshaw took to Twitter to express his anger.
His fellow Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop called on the party to suspend the Totnes CLP.
Mr Bradshaw later told PoliticsHome: "I'm sure the Labour party will want to look very carefully at what went on here and whether any rules have been broken.
"But it is a dreadful situation for those Labour voters in Totnes who should be able to vote for a Labour candidate and as a result now have no Labour representation."
A message posted on the Totnes CLP Facebook page said: "Very well done to our candidates in yesterday's by-elections here in Totnes - you ran a great campaign, and really lifted the profile of Labour in our area."