Council leader Councillor Leo Thomson's position is under threat from within her own party just weeks before voters go to the polls in the local elections.

Lady Margaret ward councillor Gurcharan Singh is to launch a challenge for the leadership of the council's ruling Labour group.

Councillor Jason Stacey, leader of the Conservative opposition, described the move as an "all-out leadership war".

Councillor Stacey said: "Councillor Singh was one of the decisive councillors in giving Councillor Thomson the leadership.

"The fact that there is a challenge now shows they have lost faith.

"They are expecting to lose seats, but probably not in Southall, so Councillor Singh fancies his chances."

The news comes after two departures from the Labour group three weeks ago, with the suspension of Councillor Joginder Saroe in the expectation of a damning report from the Standards Board, and the resignation of Councillor Richard Porter, following an unpleasant re-selection battle.

Councillor Stacey said: "There are obviously issues going on in the group.

"The have already lost some members and clearly are not expecting to do that well in the elections.

"Councillor Thomson has not been very popular with the group.

"John Cudmore was leader for almost 16 years and I don't think he was ever challenged.

"This is all-out leadership war."

Councillor Singh played down the claim, saying: "It happens every year to select and re-select cabinet members, but I am more concerned about getting Labour re-elected.

"That is my major preocupation."

Labour group spokesman Chris Borg said: "Applications for these posts will be voted upon, as they are every year, at the annual meeting on May 5 and 8.

"This is according to the Labour Party constitution and rulebook.

"Elections to those posts will be fair and democratic, and the new Labour group after the AGM will respect and abide by the selections made at these sessions."

Councillor Thomson was unavailable for comment.