It has now become the latest internal battleground between moderate supporters of Sir Keir and Left-wing members still loyal to Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s former leader.
A well-placed source told The Telegraph many activists who have campaigned in previous elections across the region now plan to “down tools” for the Wakefield by-election.
They are furious that three respected local candidates were shunned by the National Executive Committee in favour of two picks who do not come from the area.
Jakob Williamson, a local activist, plus Michael Graham and Jack Hemingway, two local councillors, had put their names forward.
But the selection committee – on which the constituency party was given just one seat, rather than the usual three – rejected all three.
Instead, they chose Kate Dearden and Simon Lightwood for the shortlist, with local members asked to choose between the pair during a vote on Sunday.
Local campaigners said both candidates were well-known as having supported Remain during the 2016 referendum, whereas two-thirds of people in Wakefield voted Leave.
“That’s not what local residents want,” one told The Telegraph. “We feel very let down. The members are very angry.
“I’m sure there will be some local members that will go out campaigning for whoever is chosen, but I know there’s a lot saying ‘I’m not dedicating my life to this’.”
They added that the fury was about the exclusion of local candidates, not animosity towards the shortlisted pair.
‘This is why Labour are struggling’
In a statement published on Facebook, Cllr Graham said: “I submitted my application to be the Labour Party candidate in the upcoming Wakefield by-election, with hope and enthusiasm.
“However, I am disappointed to share that no applicants who live in the Wakefield constituency were long-listed for the candidacy, decided by the Labour National Executive Committee.”
His post attracted almost 100 supportive comments from locals who said they were “disgusted” by the “shocking decisions” from national headquarters.
“This is why Labour are struggling,” one wrote in reply. “Unless they listen to local constituents, they won’t succeed. The NEC has a lot to answer for.”