A FORMER councillor has waded into a bitter row within Bradford West's Labour Party, claiming sitting MP Naz Shah lies behind a decision to strip local members of the right to choose election candidates.

Former Labour councillor Soofi Amin, who represented Manningham from 2008 to 2012, said he had been hoping to be selected again as the ward's Labour candidate in this year's local elections for Bradford Council.

But he alleged Ms Shah told him to step aside, or she would have her choice of candidate imposed on local members by party bosses.

A spokesman for Ms Shah has dismissed the allegations as "completely baseless".

Mr Amin, a travel agent and cab driver who lost out to Respect in the local elections of 2012, alleged Ms Shah had turned up at his home a few months ago, along with her parliamentary staff Ibrar Hussain and Cllr Mohammad Shabbir (Lab, Heaton).

He said: "The purpose of the unexpected visit soon became clear when Naz Shah MP was trying to bully and intimate me into not seeking selection for Manningham ward so her staff member Ibrar Hussain could be selected.

"I told her it was my right to seek selection and that she cannot force me to step aside as it is a democratic process."

Mr Amin, 58, claims when he refused to back down, Ms Shah said she would instead have her candidate imposed by the party's ruling executive.

Earlier this week, the Labour Party announced it was taking the unusual step of stripping local members of the power to select candidates in six council wards in Bradford West, after receiving "allegations surrounding the process of selecting candidates".

The National Executive Committee will instead choose candidates - a move which was welcomed by Ms Shah.

Mr Amin said he was shocked by the announcement.

He said he had recently been approved by the regional party as a potential election candidate and if local Labour party members had been given the vote as usual, he was sure he would have secured the nomination for Manningham.

He said he felt "deeply let down" by the regional Labour office.

Mr Amin added: "It’s outrageous and I, together with others, will be making a formal complaint to the NEC and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn."

A spokesman for Ms Shah said: "The allegations are completely baseless and the other parties that attended the meeting remember it completely differently."

A Yorkshire and Humber Labour Party spokesman last night confirmed it had received a complaint from Mr Amin. 

A spokesman said: "Several hours after informing the media of his allegations, Mr Amin has this evening sent a complaint to the regional office about these allegations."

Cllr Shabbir declined to comment.