Eleven Waltham Forest councillors have signed a letter backing Owen Smith to become leader of the Labour Party.

More than 1,000 councillors from across the UK signed an open letter supporting the Pontypridd MP, who is locked in a battle for the Labour top job with current leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Signatories from Waltham Forest include council leader Chris Robbins and cabinet members Clare Coghill, Grace Williams, Angie Bean and Stuart Emmerson.

The six other councillors to sign the letter were Alistair Strathern, Mark Rusling, Peter Barnett, Simon Miller, Marie Pye and Paul Douglas.

The letter, posted in full on the Labour List website, calls on party members to back Mr Smith because "this is the only path forward to a Labour government".

It praises the former shadow work and pensions secretary for displaying the "tenacity and skill to advance the cause of working people" but goes even further and suggests he is the only person capable of unifying the party.

It states: "There are militants in both wings of our party who are determined to carry out a civil war against each other, whether it harms working people or not.

"We have intimidation and bullying in Constituency Labour Parties up and down the country.

"We have those who seem to prefer perpetual division to the job of winning power for the good of those we represent.

"We need a unifying leader who is principled and competent."

The letter, originally published at the end of July when it had received 500 signatures, was organised by Michael Payne, a Nottinghamshire councillor, and Tim Roca, a councillor in Westminster.

The boost for Mr Smith's campaign comes just days after Mr Corbyn was shown to have won the overwhelming backing of constituency Labour parties (CLPs).

Walthamstow Labour Party members have voted by a margin of almost two to one, to announce its support for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership contest.

More than 300 members attended a meeting at the Ghousia Community Centre last week to decide the local party’s supporting nomination for party leader.

Members took part in a secret ballot following a 30-minute discussion of candidates Mr Corbyn and rival Owen Smith.

The result of the ballot was the declaration of Jeremy Corbyn as nominee from Walthamstow Labour Party by 205 votes to 103.

Mr Corbyn's campaign team said he had secured the nominations of 285 Constituency Labour Parties (CLPs), against just 53 for Mr Smith.