Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Saturday, 16 May 2009 19:53 UK

Candidate chosen after vote row

John Austin
John Austin has held the sought-after seat since 1997

A tax investigator has been chosen to fight for a Labour seat in the next general election after a contest marred by allegations of vote tampering.

Party members in Erith and Thamesmead, south-east London, chose former councillor Teresa Pearce.

There had been complaints the daughter of Tony Blair's polling guru Lord Gould was being favoured centrally ahead of local candidates.

In the event Georgia Gould came third in the selection process.

The seat is being vacated by MP John Austin, who is retiring at the general election.

Ballot box seal

Mr Austin, who had a majority of more than 10,000 at the last election, had complained the contest was "hijacked" by the national party.

In April the Olympics minister Tessa Jowell had to apologise to him for not saying she was visiting his seat to attend a meeting organised by Ms Gould.

After the seal on a ballot box was broken in April, all postal votes already cast were cancelled.

The Labour Party's National Executive is continuing an investigation into the way the contest was conducted.

The eight candidates were interviewed by party members on Saturday and a ballot was held.

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