LABOUR Party officials will attempt tonight to resolve a dispute over the selection of a candidate for elections in Tony Blair's constituency.

The party has stepped in following allegations of irregularities during the selection process for the forthcoming Sedgefield Borough Council elections.

A meeting to select the party's remaining candidate for the Greenfield and Middridge ward in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, was due to take place three weeks ago.

But, following the allegations, the Labour Party in the region cancelled the meeting and ordered an investigation.

The Northern Echo understands the claims surround literature distributed to some branch members which appeared to promote a potential candidate for the seat.

A panel, made up of officials from the constituency and district party, will conduct interviews in Trimdon Labour Club this evening.

The panel, chaired by Councillor Lucy Hovvels, will speak to all parties involved in the row and all those who have expressed an interest.

The investigation is set against a backdrop of in-fighting and accusations which have dogged the selection process in Newton Aycliffe.

The party has already placed 49 candidates for the 50 council seats, but time is running out for the final selection.

Nominations for the elections, which will be held by postal ballot on May 1, open next Thursday and the closing date is March 21.

A former party member, who did not want to be named, said: "The meeting is to do with all the carry on that's been going on and I think it's going to get a bit nasty."