Labour has been accused of being "desperate" after nominating three local election candidates in one ward with the same name as a sitting councillor.

Bexley's council leader Councillor Teresa O’Neill described her "shock" to News Shopper after finding out that the Labour candidates standing against her were all called O’Neill.

She said it is a plot to trick people who want to back her into voting for a rival candidate.

Mrs O'Neill said: "I think the whole thing is a bit pathetic to be honest, they are just desperate.

"Reactions from people on the doorstep show people in Bexley are pleased with what we are doing.

"We have been lobbying for lots of external investment for the borough.

"Why do they need to revert to theses silly games, they need to have more respect for the electorate.

"I came into politics to try and make people's lives better but this kind of behaviour just undermines everything we are trying to do."

A list of candidates published by the council confirms that in her Brampton ward a Margaret, a Michael and a Paul O’Neill are standing for Labour on May 22.

The two other Conservative councillors for the ward are also up for election.

The list shows two of the Labour O’Neills live at the same address: Margaret and Michael are married but are reportedly looking to move out of the borough after getting plans passed to build another dwelling in their garden.

Paul O’Neill, who is standing in his first election, married Teresa Pearce, Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, this month.

Margaret O'Neill said: "I was asked to stand as a paper candidate, it means someone who is someone who is not going to win.

"My husband was asked to do the same thing because we were free to stand and that was that.

"I am not going to say anything else on the topic."

When asked if the couple were looking to move out of Bexley Mrs O Neill added "we have not made any kind decision on that yet".

Mrs Pearce said: "Mr and Mrs O’Neill live in Brampton ward and Michael has stood before as a paper candidate.

"I think the voters of Brampton are clever enough to understand a ballot paper.

"I can understand when elections come along candidates all get a bit twitchy and Coun O’Neill says it’s dirty tricks but it isn’t.

"I am sure by the 23rd it will all be forgotten.

"It is not like it is a surname like Blenkinsop that is fairly unusual.

"Coun O’Neill needs to relax a bit and have a bit of confidence in her own record."