BRADFORD'S Labour group was last night left reeling from a dramatic shake-up by its regional office.

Senior councillors - including a former Lord Mayor and a member of the executive - have been finding out that the Labour Party does not want them to defend their seats at next year's local election.

But the move, an attempt to reinvigorate the local party after the upset caused by George Galloway's Respect party victory in the 2012 by-election, has been criticised by some as heavy-handed.

Long-standing Bradford Councillor Ghazanfer Khaliq said he had failed to make a list of 'approved candidates' because of a drink-driving offence'.

Cllr Khaliq, a former Lord Mayor, said his party had told him by email that he had brought the party into disrepute.

His conviction dates back to 2011, when he admitted driving while over the limit and was given a £560 fine and a 17-month driving ban.

Cllr Khaliq (Bradford Moor) said he would not be appealing his party's decision and would remain a member of the Labour Party.

He said: "I am not disappointed, actually. I did my service, 30-odd years, and I would have retired anyhow."

A Labour source confirmed two further councillors had also failed to make the list - Councillor Amir Hussain (Toller), who sits on the Council's powerful executive, and Cllr Rizwan Malik (Heaton).

But local Labour activists are said to be upset that such long-standing and senior councillors were being told of the decision by email.

Cllr Hussain said he had heard the reports but had not yet seen any email from his party.

He said: "I don't want to make any comment at this moment."

In 2012, a photograph emerged of Cllr Hussain which appeared to show him holding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

At the time, Cllr Hussain apologised, but said the photograph had been taken 20 years ago.

Then, he said: "It is not something I am proud of, and it is not the sort of image that sets a good example to young people in Bradford."

And in 2010, Cllr Malik resigned from chairing a key committee after being prosecuted over the condition of flats his company had rented out.

Cllr Malik was one of two directors of Premier Housing (Bradford) Limited, which was fined £34,000 by the courts over the state of two properties in Liverpool.

As a result, he resigned from chairing Bradford Council's housing and non-domestic rates appeal panel, but stayed on as a councillor.

Cllr Malik was unavailable for comment yesterday.

A Yorkshire and Humber Labour Party spokesman said: "The Labour Party in Bradford has been absolutely determined to learn the lessons of the Bradford West by-election – we have confronted the issues that our investigation into that defeat exposed head-on and have launched successful women’s and youth forums and run two Future Candidates Programmes to reach out to members who have the potential to be great councillors but had never previously considered putting themselves forward.

"We are determined to field a full slate of candidates who we know would do Bradford proud and as such it is right that all people seeking to put themselves forward, including sitting councillors, are subject to a rigorous assessment process.

"As this process is at an early stage it would be inappropriate to provide a running commentary on specific individuals."

Reports have also been circulating online suggesting three more Labour councillors could be facing the same fate.

These were Councillor Doreen Lee (Keighley East), Kaneez Akthar (Keighley Central) and Asama Javed (Manningham), although it is understood that no decisions have yet been made.

Cllr Javed said she had not received any email from her party and had "no reason to believe" she had been deselected.

Neither Cllr Lee nor Cllr Akthar could be reached for comment.

Council and Labour group leader, Councillor David Green, said it was a matter for the regional office and declined to comment further.