JIM Murphy has dramatically re-emerged into the political spotlight amid claims he blocked moves by a local left-wing candidate to replace Ken Livingstone on the party's ruling body.

The former Scottish Labour leader, who has kept a low profile since quitting the post after his party lost 40 of 41 seats at last year's General Election, is said to have appealed to his local branch in Eastwood not to put forward Rhea Wolfson to Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC).

He was among those present at the meeting last night at which Wolfson had earlier put her case.

But it is claimed that after Murphy spoke out, Wolfson, who was backed by pressure groups Momentum and the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance, failed to secure the nomination meaning she can no longer run.

The 25-year-old had hoped to replace Livingstone on the party's NEC in upcoming elections following the former London mayor's suspension over anti-Semitism allegations.

In an angry statement today, Wolfson blamed "a faction of the party" - and Murphy in particular - for blocking her.

She said: "Last night Eastwood CLP, where my family home is, met to nominate candidates for the NEC. It was proposed that, given I am currently a member of the CLP, there would be a straight vote for or against my nomination.

"I made my case and answered questions from the room. I was then asked to leave the room while they discussed my nomination further. Once I had left, the ex-leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, appealed to the CLP to not nominate me.

"He argued that it would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with anti-Semitism. The constituency has a large Jewish population.

"The CLP then voted to not endorse me, before re-inviting me back into the room.

"Needless to say, this is hugely disappointing. It is disappointing because I am the only Jewish candidate in this election, because the wide range of organisations endorsing me includes the Jewish Labour Movement, and because I have a long record of challenging anti-Semitism and have in fact faced it on a daily basis since my candidacy was announced. But above all, it is disappointing because I know there are many members who want to vote for me, who could now have lost that opportunity. I am considering my options going forward."

Nick Hopkins, chair of the Eastwood party, said Wolfson's links with Momentum were partly to blame for their decision.

He told the online Huffington Post: "We don’t usually nominate to the NEC, so we decided to give special consideration to Rhea’s nomination as a member of our constituency.

"The first concern was about factionalism generally and not endorsing a faction. The second concern was around Momentum in particular and its role within the party at the moment.

"The third thing was the party felt it wants to get to know Rhea better as an individual. She presented her thoughts very well, people were impressed by her. But I think at the end they just decided not to go with her nomination – or any nomination. We certainly weren’t going to nominate anyone else in that context."

Wolfson, who is a branch secretary for the GMB union in Glasgow, hit the headlines last month for declaring that winning the 2020 election "should not be the priority" for Labour.

She said: "Is winning in 2020 the priority and if so, what are we willing to sacrifice to achieve it? My belief is that winning 2020 should not be the priority of the Labour party. This belief comes from a further belief that the Labour party is a movement above and beyond anything."