Labour has apologised to the family of Tory MP James Brokenshire after asking for his vote in the by-election which was triggered by his death.

Sir Keir Starmer's party sent a "Vote Labour" appeal to James Brokenshire who died last month aged 53 after a battle with lung cancer.

In Labour's efforts to overturn a Conservative majority of nearly 19,000, Labour campaigners addressed election communications to the late Mr Brokenshire at his family's home.

It was reported by The Mail on Sunday that the Labour-branded letter with a photograph of party candidate Daniel Francis caused deep upset to Mr Brokenshire's widow Cathy.

Only last month, Labour leader Sir Keir joined in tributes to the former Communities Secretary, describing him as a "friend to many of us" who "commanded enormous respect".

Sir Keir's party has now responded with an apology to Mr Brokenshire's family.

In a statement, Labour said: "This was the standard freepost mailing that parties get at election time which is sent to all registered electors in the local area.

"We sincerely apologise for any distress cause to the Brokenshire family."

Labour candidate Daniel Francis said: "I am very sorry that an election leaflet was sent to James and I understand the hurt this has caused.

"This was the standard mailing that gets sent to all registered voters at an election.

"The Labour Party have apologised for this, and I do too."

The Tories are fielding local Bexley councillor Louie French as their candidate in a seat once represented by former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.

Jonathan Rooks, chairperson of local conservation charity Greener Bexley, has been selected by the Green Party.

Richard Tice, leader of Reform, formerly known as the Brexit party, announced his candidacy last month.

David Kurten is leader of the Heritage Party

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