A WIRRAL councillor has accused the Labour Party of a "stitch-up" after losing an appeal against being dropped as a candidate for next May's local elections.

Jim Crabtree, Labour councillor for Bidston & St James, had appealed against the decision made by a committee of local Labour members and upheld during a meeting of the party's approval panel.

Now he says he is considering standing as an independent Labour ticket against the official Labour candidate.

Councillor Crabtree had been suspended from the party earlier this year amid allegations he had used children from a special school to deliver election leaflets.

He said: “I have not been 'de-selected' -  I just haven’t been selected to stand by the Labour Party’s approval panel.

“It means my name will not be on the list of candidates.

“I just feel so sorry for the residents of Bidston & St James.

“The way I see it now is that the ward will get a councillor who does not live in the area and doesn't give a damn about the place.

“In my view, it looks like the party want someone younger to represent this ward and didn’t feel I’d done enough recently.

“What they forget is that I’ve worked tirelessly in this ward."

He continued: “It was a done deal - I was stitched-up.

"They knew before the meeting their decision against re-selection would be upheld.

“I may return to politics probably as an independent Labour councillor.”

Councillor Crabtree was suspended in July following allegations he had used children from a special school to deliver election leaflets.

The children were said to have helped deliver leaflets in the Bidston and St James area where fellow Labour member Brian Kenny was campaigning to become councillor.

At the time Cllr Crabtree said he believed the allegations were part of internal divisions within the local party and followed other members losing their positions.

In 2014, a memorial created and designed by Cllr Crabtree to honour those who gave their lives during the First World War was unveiled by Prince Edward.

The Globe contacted the North West Labour Party for a response but we were told they were "too busy" due to the Oldham West and Royton by-election taking place today.